October events in Northern Virginia bring pumpkin patches, Oktoberfests, art, wine, and craft festivals, and more fall fun to the Washington DC region. Cooler weather and fall foliage offer a beautiful backdrop to fun celebrations all month long. Spooky and not-so-scary events run all month, ending with local trick-or-treating when Halloween arrives.
These October events are listed in order of start date with multi-day festivals listed first. Follow the links to find detailed schedules, purchase tickets, and check for weather closures.
Cox Farms Hay Ride and Market, Cox Farms, Centreville, Sep 25 – Nov 2
The usual Cox Farms Fall Festival is canceled in 2020, but this year you can enjoy a hayride through the cornfield from the comfort of your own car on fall weekends. Drive your car through the farm fields following the same fun route of the popular hayride. The drive is open Friday + Monday 2:00 – 6:00; Saturday + Sunday 10:00 – 6:00.
You can also pick up your fall season favorites at Cox’ drive-through market. Order online and pick up your goodies daily, 10:00 – 6:00.
Find more pumpkin fun in our complete guide 2020 Pumpkin Patches in Northern Virginia and Fall Festivals.
Nightmare Alley Drive-thru Terror, Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, Weekends Oct 2 – 31 (select nights)
Northern Virginia’s scariest haunted trail returns to the Workhouse but this year it’s a drive-thru trail. Zombies, swamp creatures, creepy clowns, and scary dolls are among 13 different scary scenes taking up residence at the Workhouse campus. The unique Workhouse setting amps up the creepy factor. The Nightmare Alley drive-thru trail is open Fridays and Saturdays throughout October plus Sunday, October 11, 18, and 25. $60, with multi-car discounts available. 7:00 – 11:00.
Find more spooky and not-spooky fun: Halloween in Northern Virginia: Haunted Trails and Trick-or-treating.
Waterford Fair, Waterford, Oct 2 – 4 Virtual Event
The 76th annual Waterford Homes Tour & Crafts Exhibit is going virtual in 2020. Virginia’s oldest juried crafts fair.Enjoy performances, workshops, and more from the comfort of home. Tickets are $10 with additional fees for some events. Follow the link for the artisan list and schedule details.
Movies at the Pfitz, Woodbridge, Oct 3
Support a great cause and enjoy a fun drive-in movie night out at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge. Passes are $40 per vehicle and must be purchased in advance. All proceeds go to local Prince William County non-profits. Gates open at 6:30; movie begins at 8:15.
Art on the Avenue in Del Ray, Alexandria, Virtual Event Begins Oct 3
In 2020, Art on the Avenue is going virtual with online events and entertainment from October 3 through the holidays. Usually, the annual family-friendly festival includes juried artists selling handmade wares across ten blocks of Del Ray’s Mount Vernon Avenue. Five stages of live entertainment, plus food vendors, interactive art activities, and kids activities add to the fun. Follow the link for schedule details.
Outdoor Octoberfest, Swiss Bakery, Springfield, Oct 3
Enjoy German sausages, a live Oompah band, fresh pretzels and more at this outdoor Octoberfest celebration. Free admission; 11:00 – 2:00.
MPAartfest, McLean, Oct 4 – 18 Virtual Event
MPAartfest is a community-wide celebration of the visual arts produced by McLean Project for the Arts. In 2020, the festival is going virtual and will feature the work of more than 40 artists. Follow the link for schedule details.
Mount Vernon Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour, Oct 9 – 11
Enjoy a sophisticated fall season kick-off at George Washington’s Mount Vernon‘s annual Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour. Taste unlimited samples from Virginia wineries while you relax on the expansive East Lawn and watch sunset over the Potomac River. George Washington will be in attendance, but the Mansion will be closed during the 2020 event. Tickets often sell out for this popular event. $42/$60 members/non-members. 6:00 – 9:00 pm nightly.
Halloween Safari, Bull Run Mountains, Broad Run, Oct 17, 23, 24
Join a fun, night-time hike through the Bull Run Mountains, as a guide leads you along the trail where you will meet native “wildlife” that perform natural history skits. There is a new cast of animals each year. Then, relax by the bonfire and enjoy live music. Bring a flashlight and wear good hiking shoes for this great family outing. This year the event will be at Leopold’s Preserve, 16290 Thoroughfare Road, Broad Run, VA 20137. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $10; 7:00 – 8:30.
Trick-or-Treat Anniversary Celebration, Hogback Mountain Pony Rides, Leesburg, Oct 17 – 18
Meet Clyde the Unicorn, enjoy fire twirling, food, and trick-or-treating at the 4th anniversary celebration of Hogback Mountain Pony Rides. Tickets are $25; 11:00 – 4:00 daily.
Dulles Day Plane Pull, Dulles Airport, Oct 17 Virtual
The 2020 Dulles Plane Pull will be held virtually during the week of October 12. Join in a fitness competition Monday – Friday then celebrate on Virtual Dulles Plane Pull day. Each team will be connected with a SOVA athlete coach to be motivated by and train with along the way and will have the opportunity to participate in three team contests. Follow the link for registration and team challenge details.
Art Safari, Torpedo Factory Center, Alexandria, Oct 17 Online Event
Join in an afternoon of hands-on activities for kids and families at the annual Art Safari. This year, event sessions will be held on Facebook Live so you can participate from home. Free. 11:00 – 5:00.
Fall Harvest Family Days, Mount Vernon, Oct 24 – 25
Mount Vernon celebrates autumn with Fall Harvest Family Days. Explore the farm, watch 18th-century demonstrations, and meet General Washington. All events are included with admission. 9:00 – 5:00 daily.
Virginia Gold Cup, The Plains, Oct 24 LiveStream
The 2020 Virginia Gold Cup is closed to fans but you can watch a LiveStream of the action. Enjoy the running of the world famous Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase race at Great Meadow in The Plains. Usually, Race Day features hurdle and timber horses races, Jack Russell Terrier races, tent, tailgate and hat contests, and vendor booths for shopping.
Haunted Trail, Salamander Resort, Middleburg, Oct 28 – 31
Walk a spooky .6 mile haunted trail featuring 10 scenes with live actors. The Equestrian Center lawn will show Scooby Doo’s The Headless Horseman of Halloween film. Food and beverage will be available for purchase including hot dogs, pulled pork, s’mores kits, caramel apples, mac & cheese and veggie wraps. $14/$20 advanced/onsite purchase; 7:00 – 9:00.
Ongoing October Events and Fall Fun in Northern VA
Check out our guides to favorite fall activities for Autumn fun all month long. Our guides make it easy to plan a fall day trip or a weekend getaway.
Area pumpkin patches really ramp up in October. For example, Sky Meadows State Park hosts a pumpkin patch festival every weekend in October. Our complete guide to pumpkin patches and corn mazes in Northern Virginia includes both paid and free options.
October is prime apple season in Virginia and you can visit beautiful orchards in and near Northern VA. Apple picking is family friendly, but it also makes a fun date or group outing. Our guide includes a handy map to the best apple picking spots near DC.
Soak up the best fall foliage views with our guide to favorite fall hikes in the Northern VA area. From easy strolls to more challenging trails, we’ve found a great selection of foliage-friendly hikes in the region.
Still looking for October events and outings? Follow the link to see how local Virginia tourism experts like to celebrate the fall season.
Canceled 2020 October Events in Northern Virginia
Sadly, many of our favorite fall festivals and annual October events are canceled in 2020. We look forward to their return in 2021.
Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest, Fremont Field at Fort Belvoir, Canceled
Fort Belvoir opens it’s gates to the public for the annual Oktoberfest. This long weekend of German music, food, and fun is held at the base’s Fremont Field. Many festival activities, including the Kinder Korner, 10K Volksmarch, and live music, are free. Purchase an armband for all-day, unlimited rides at the carnival (discounted tickets for military personnel on Sunday). Entrance is open to all, but adults must have a valid State Driver’s License or Military ID to enter. Thurs 6:00 – 10:00, Fri 4:00 – 11:00, Sat noon – 11:00, Sun noon – 8:00.
Fall for Fairfax Kidsfest, Fairfax, Canceled
Celebrate Fairfax is hosting the 26th annual Fall For Fairfax KidsFest. Enjoy interactive and educational programs, entertainment, and activities. Fall For Fairfax KidsFest is specially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children. Admission to the festival, two stages of live entertainment, and most activities are free. Purchase ride tickets for the Kidway Midway. Sat 10:00 – 7:00, Sun 10:00 – 5:00.
Irish Folk Festival, Fairfax, Canceled
The 24th annual Irish Folk Festival features a day of music on four stages, plus dancing, vendors, workshops, and Gaelic sports. Admission is $10 ($20 max per family). Noon – 6:30.
Vienna Oktoberfest, Vienna, Canceled
Vienna’s Oktoberfest celebrates its 12th anniversary! Enjoy live entertainment on three stages, a German beer and food garden sponsored by Caboose Brewing Company, kids activities and games, crafts, and an auto show featuring 30 German classic cars. Admission is free; 11:00 – 7:00.
Fall Jubilee, Manassas, Canceled
Experience fall in its fullest with a trip to Historic Downtown Manassas to participate in the 37th annual Fall Jubilee. This family friendly extravaganza fills the streets of this historic town each year and includes a wine garden, pumpkin patch, live entertainment and more than 100 crafter and community booths. Free; 10:00 – 5:00.
Clifton Day, Clifton, Canceled
Head to charming Clifton for a day of family-friendly activities at the annual Clifton Day. Attractions include crafts, live entertainment, pony rides, children’s activities, and plenty of food and beverage choices. Admission is free and paid parking starts at $5.00 per car, but why not arrive in style? Clifton Day is the only day of the year that you can take the Virginia Railway Express to town. Train service to Clifton is free from all stops between Manassas and Rolling Road, and the return trip is only $5.00. 9:00 – 5:00.
Fall Carnival and Fall Harvest Days, Frying Pan Park, Herndon, Canceled
Enjoy a weekend of fall fun for all ages at Frying Pan Park. Fall Carnival Fun runs throughout the weekend with games, rides, and fair food. General admission is free, but hay rides, carnival rides, and some activities have fees. Fri 5:00 – 9:00; Sat 11:00 – 9:00, Sun 11:00 – 6:00. Or explore the farm on Fall Harvest Day. You can watch the cider press in action, milk a goat or a cow, shell corn, peel apples, meet the farm animals, and see traditional farm demonstrations. Free; $3 wagon or carousel ride. Sat and Sun 10:00 – 4:00.
Virginia Wine Festival, Arlington, Canceled
The Virginia Wine Festival®, the longest running wine festival on the East Coast, moves to One Loudoun for 2019. The VA Oyster Pavilion will be back with briny, freshly shucked oysters from Virginia’s Chesapeake Regions and delicious oyster dishes with regional flare. Live music, food trucks, and local vendors complete the fun. General admission $39 advance purchase; noon – 6:00 daily.
Reston Home Tour, Reston, Canceled
The annual Reston Home Tour offers self-conducted tours of six outstanding private homes in Reston neighborhoods.” See “wow factor” destinations showing inspiring interior design, architecture, unique ideas, art collections, and renovation successes. Tickets include a location map and all proceeds benefit Reston Museum, operated by Reston Historic Trust. $25/$30 advance/day of; 10:00 – 5:00.
Haymarket Day, Haymarket, Canceled
This annual hometown street festival includes: a parade featuring local schools, performers, and law enforcement, led by the year’s Town Marshal. Dozens of vendors, entertainers, a beer garden, and culinary options add to the family-friendly day. Free admission; 10:00 – 4:00
Ghost Train, Burke Lake Park, Canceled
The annual Burke Lake Ghost Train returns with a ride on the miniature train through Halloween decorated woods, with costumed characters performing scenes from popular children’s stories. The Ghost Train is geared to young children so the event is more fun than fear. The carousel will also be open, and you can follow your ride with a picnic and a stroll around the lake. $6 per passenger. 10:00 – 6:00.
Lake Anne Harvest Days, Reston, Canceled
Harvest Days at Lake Anne is free and family friendly. Eateries and shops on Lake Anne will showcase holiday tips and treats, Virginia wine and beer, and a collection of everything fall. Enjoy live music, sales on Halloween costumes, Free; 11:00 – 11:00.
Air and Scare Family Day, Air and Space Udvar-Hazy , Canceled
See the spooky side of air and space at the Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center’s popular annual Halloween event. Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating, creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. (Full face masks prohibited on 16 and older.) The tiniest visitors can check out the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. $15 parking; noon – 5:30.
Annandale Parade, Annadale, Canceled
Enjoy family fun at the popular Annandale Parade. Watch clowns, storybook characters, marching bands, antique & military cars, fire trucks, civic organizations, and beautifully costumed international dancers as they march along Columbia Pike. This sixty-nine-year-old tradition gets bigger and better every year. Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes. Free; 10:00 – noon.
Clifton Haunted Trail, Buckley Park, Clifton Canceled
A trail of terror awaits in Clifton’s Buckley Park, so watch out for monsters and stick to the trail. The PG-13 rated trail includes two dozen scary skits with live actors, including local legend The Bunnyman. Tickets are $18/$13 online for adults/12 and under (though the trail is likely too intense for younger kids). Tickets are $20/$15 day of event. 7:00 – 10:00 pm.
Del Ray Halloween Parade, Alexandria, Canceled
Don your best Halloween costume and join thousands of participants in one of Del Ray’s favorite traditions. The 23rd annual Del Ray Halloween Parade welcomes children, pets, and strollers in costumes to march and show off their finest and scariest Halloween garb. Prizes are awarded in multiple categories including Best Decorated Stroller and Best Pet Costume. Free; 2:00 – 4:00.
Fall is a beautiful time in Virginia. While we’ll miss many of the usual October events this year, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the season.
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This article is updated annually.