The Big List of Things to Do in L.A. This October [2023]

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch. Photo courtesy of Mr. Bone’s Pumpkin Patch.

October in Los Angeles really brings it when it comes to events.

Over the next 31 days we’re looking at a host of haunted attractions and Halloween-themed to-dos, plus Día de los Muertos celebrations, fall festivals, film series, art openings, and open streets events–including a fresh edition of CicLAvia and Arroyofest’s 20th anniversary. Needless to say, you’ve got options. Now all you have to do is choose.


Things To Do for October in Los Angeles

M = Less than .5 miles from an L.A. Metro Station, FA = Free Admission, TP = Top Pick

Simon Rodia Watts Towers 46th annual Jazz Festival (October 1) – M FA > Simon Rodia Watts Towers 46th annual Jazz Festival brings 8 hours of live music to the Watts Towers Arts Center. The lineup includes spoken word artists, gospel jazz, and blues. Free to attend the festival runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Classical Kids Discovery Day (October 1) – FA TP > Classical music station KUSC hosts a Classical Kids Discovery Day at Plaza de la Raza. This bilingual event invites children to explore the world of live classical music in a fun and accessible manner. The plaza and its nearby classrooms will be filled with kid-friendly live music and dance performances. Various activities centered around music and art are also on the slate of events. Free to attend. Runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info here

Made in L.A. at The Hammer (through December 31) – FA > Made in L.A. is The Hammer museum’s biennial celebration of artists who work, live and create in the city of Los Angeles. The opening night bash (Saturday, September 30) features live music from L.A. artist collective Mas Exitos, plus a cash bar and evening access to the museum galleries. The exhibition remains on view through December 31. Free to attend. More info here.

Beyond Fest (through October 10) -> The 11th anniversary lineup for Beyond Fest offers a bold lineup of films screened across 3 Los Angeles locations: Aero Theatre, NEON Theatre at Los Feliz 3 and The Regency Westwood. And the best part? Many of the screenings are free. See the full film schedule here.

Boney Island at the Natural History Museum (through October 31) – M > The Nature Gardens of Natural History Museum Los Angeles is home to Boney Island. Expect an array of glowing installations, spooky skeletons, and shadow puppetry interlaced with artistic performances, real fossils from the museum’s collection, and plenty of trick-or-treating opportunities for the little ones. Boney Island runs Thursday to Sunday through the end of the month, plus October 30-31. Tickets are $25. More info here.

Halloween Horror Nights (through October 31) – M > Universal Studios’ fall horror takeover features the signature Terror Tram, plus a litany of scare zones, lives shows, and a bevy of different haunted houses, including The Exorcist: Believer and Universal Monsters: Unmasked. GA tickets start at $74, but VIP and express packages can push the price point well over $300 depending on the offer. Get more info here.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride (through October 31) -> The signature Halloween experience held in Griffith Park is back for 2023. The whole thing takes place in Midnight Falls, a fictional horror-town filled with roaming monsters. Check out the haunted mortuary and hop on the signature Hayride, this year the wagons get an update with built-in comfy seats. Tickets start at $29.99. More info here.

Bob Baker’s Halloween Spooktacular! (through November 5)- TP > In Bob Baker’s Halloween Spooktacular!, over a hundred spirited puppets come to life, delivering an hour-long, family-friendly captivating Halloween revue. Highlights include Frankenstein’s toe-tapping debut and a cabaret of glow-in-the-dark skeletons. More info here.

Knott’s Scary Farm (through October 31) -> Knott’s Scary Farm returns with their signature lineup of haunted attractions, mazes and thousands of monsters ready to scare the living daylight out of you and your crew. More info here

Reign of Terror Haunted House (through November 4) -> This award-winning haunted house and walkthrough experience located in Thousand Oaks is now in its 25th season. The 2023 edition features 138 rooms in 10 different, inter-connected sections within 28,000 square feet of floor space. Standards tickets are $35. Available on select dates through Nov. 4. More info here.

Shaqtoberfest (through October 31) -> Prepare for a spine-tingling experience at Shaqtoberfest aboard the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach. This haunting event offers new eerie experiences and multiple attractions that include a Shipwreck Graveyard, where undead sailors emerge from watery graves, to a dark carnival and a dangerous Pirate’s Cove. Tickets start at $29.99 on select nights.

Nights of the Jack (through October 31) -> The annual 1-mile trail of Halloween lights and jack o’lanterns at King Gillette Ranch returns this month, and continues on select dates through Halloween night. In addition to the signature walk, expect live pumpkin carving demos, face painting, a souvenir shop, and a “spookeasy” offering adult beverages for sale. Admission runs $29.99-$44.99 depending on which day of the week you attend. Get more info here.

Japan Family Day (September 31- October 1) -> One of the largest Japanese Family Festivals in SoCal, Japan Family Day brings two days of Japanese culture, entertainment, and food to Santa Anita Park. Fun for the entire family the festival runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both dates, and attendees can also catch the Tokyo City Cup at the race track on Sunday. Tickets cost $10 and includes parking. More info here.

Angel City Oktoberfest (October 1) – FA > Oktoberfest at Angel City Brewery includes special beers on tap, an Oompa band, contests in kraut eating as well as stein hoisting plus tasty German bites including pretzels from Röckenwagner and brats. More info here.

Tito’s Fiesta Mexicana at Tito’s Tacos (October 4) -> Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Tito’s Tacos are teaming up to celebrate National Vodka Day and National Taco Day, which happen to occur on the same day of the year. Coupled with the food and drink will be entertainment by an all female Mariachi band, Mexican folklorico dance performances and Master of Ceremonies comedian Eric Schwartz aka “Smooth-E.” Proceeds will go on to benefit The Culver City Cultural Affairs Foundation. Tickets cost $30 for food and alcohol, $15 for those interested in food only. More info here.

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch (October 5-29) -> Culver City’s favorite pumpkin village offers plenty of family fun, including photo ops in front of giant pumpkin installations, a straw maze, a super slide, petting zoo, giant rocking horses, and pumpkin decorating sessions. Tickets cost $10 to $30 depending on date and tickets for activities begin at $1 each.More info here.

La Cage (October 5, 13, 20, 27) -> Experience the electric La Cage live show at Hollywood’s Roosevelt’s secret theatre starting October 5. Inspired by the golden age of supper clubs and the iconic La Cage Aux Folles nightclub, it’s a glamorous journey all hidden behind a hotel bookcase. Enjoy live vocals, dazzling dance, and a live band, paying tribute to drag culture pioneers with emcee Tommi Rose and surprise celebrity guests like Cheyenne Jackson and Ada Vox. Audiences can also sip on classic cocktails and dine on Cinegrill Theatre’s supper club inspired menu. La Cage starts October 5, with shows on select Friday nights at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets for the show start at $55. More info here.

Urban Death Tour of Terror (October 6- 31) – M > Zombie Joe’s annual tradition of Urban Death is back with a brand new series of terrifying vignettes, bookended by walks through a creepy maze. Performances run on Fridays and Saturdays through October 28, with three bonus shows on Sunday, October 29, Monday October 30 and Halloween Tuesday. Advance tickets are $22 per person. More info here.

Carved at Descanso Gardens (October 6-29) -> Descanso Gardens’ family-friendly Carved returns with a pumpkin wonderland featuring a new route, hundreds of carved pumpkins and kid-friendly activities. Tickets run $30-$40 for non-members. Get more info here.

Dumpling and Beer Fest (October 6) – FA > The Dumpling and Beer Fest returns to the Mission District of San Gabriel this year with more vendors then ever. Admission is free, and if you’re 21 or older, you can purchase tickets for the beer garden ($40), for unlimited beer samples from 14 regional breweries, including Pico Rivera’s Brewjeria Company, San Gabriel’s Ogopogo Brewing and Hawthorne’s Common Space Brewery. More info here.

Oktoberfest at Fairplex (October 6-21) -> The Fairplex transform into a fantastical Bavarian Oktoberfest every Friday and Saturday with live oompah bands, DJs and plenty of German food and beers to go around. Tickets cost $12 – $22. This is a 21+ event. More info here.

37th Annual California Avocado Festival (October 6-8) – FA > Take a drive up the coast to visit the 37th Annual California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria. The two-day event includes an Avocado Expo, a food court with loads of creative ‘cado inspired dishes, an arts and crafts venue, plus three stages of live music with over 60 performers scheduled. Entry is free. More info here.

Fall Openings at TAM (October 7) – FA > The Torrance Art Museum hosts an opening reception for its two fall art exhibitions, which include an exploration of Latin identity and culture in SUR biennial: MALA MUERTE / bad death, plus large-scale ceramic work by artist Tony Baker for In Case of Emergency. Both exhibitions will run through December 2. TAM is always free to visit. More info here.

The Oddities Flea Market (October 7-8 ) – M > The Oddities Flea Market takes over the Globe Theatre for two days of off-beat shopping where you’ll find three floors of one-of-a-kind curiosities from over 70 vendors. Tickets range $20-$50. More info here.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day at The Getty (October 7) – FA >The Getty celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day with a special activations, hands-on workshops, and musical performances. Runs noon to 4 p.m. An advance reservation (free) is required. More info here.

Muertos Artwalk (October 7) – M FA > Discover local artists and Olvera Street merchants during Muertos Artwalk. The hand-curated event features a number of vendors offering unique artwork, jewelry, accessories, clothing, face painting, and more. Free to attend. More info here.

Family Style Food Festival (October 8) -> The one-day festival known for pairing streetwear with some of the best food returns with a curated lineup of beloved Los Angeles restaurants while shedding light on the city’s diverse culinary landscape and introducing Angelenos to culinary talents in New York, Chicago, and beyond. Tickets start at $60. More info here.

5th Annual Disability Pride Parade & Festival (October 8) – FA > The 5th Annual Disability Pride Parade & Festival returns to the East L.A. Civic Center. This event is open to the general public welcoming allies and supporters for a day of solidarity. There will be free food, a pumpkin patch, petting zoo, resources and more. More info here.

Los Angeles Korean Festival (October 12-15) -> The Los Angeles Korean Festival is back at Seoul International Park, promising four exciting days of festivities. One of the largest Korean-American events in the nation, the fest will feature 250 vendors from Korea and the local community, live performances, and an array of delectable food offerings. Free to attend.

Pasadena’s biannual ArtNight (October 13) – M FA TP > The fall edition of Pasadena’s biannual ArtNight includes free activations at a myriad of partner locations, including the Gamble House, Armory Center for the Arts, and the USC Pacific Asia Museum.

Afterlife (October 13-14) – M > Afterlife’s techno festival takes over L.A. State Historic Park on October 13 and 14. Experience mind bending visuals and a live performances from Argy, Kevin de Vries, Julya Karma, and MRAK’s “We Don’t Follow” by Carmine Conte. Saturday tickets are sold out. Friday tickets cost $124.50 person. More info here.

Oktoberfest at Santa Anita Park (October 14-15 and 21-22) -> Oktoberfest returns to Santa Anita Park for two weekends of Bavarian beer tastings, steins, live music, dancing, and all that comes with this German themed celebration. Tickets start at $38. More info here.

Son of Monsterpalooza (October 13-15) -> Head to Burbank for this three-day con where guests can meet and hang with award winning artists behind some of the greatest creatures ever created, plus peruse selection of over 150 exhibitors selling one of a kind creations, LIVE makeup demonstrations and more. Tickets run $35-$40 for single-day passes. More info here.

Archaeology Day (October 14) – FA > The Santa Monica Mountains Fund celebrates National Archaeology Month with an Archaeology Day celebration at King Gillette Ranch featuring family-friendly performances and tons of hands-on activities and workshops, including flint knapping demos, spear throwing, and a hands-on excavation box. Runs 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.

Weirdo Night with Dynasty Handbag (October 14) – FA > Weirdo Night is a popular long-running freak forward variety show hosted and curated by Dynasty Handbag (alter ego of Made in L.A. artist Jibz Cameron). For the Hammer iteration, Weirdo Night brings together Made in L.A. artists Marcel Alcalá, Pippa Garner (in absentia), Page Person, and Xina Xurner (Young Joon Kwak and Marvin Astorga) with travesdee, plus a dance performance by HAAGS (Jibz Cameron + Emilia Richeson of Ponysweat). More info here.

Family Day at The Wallis (October 14) – FA > Taking a cue from The Wallis’s popular Sunday Funday series, Family Fest offers a full day of interactive activities and performances across the Beverly Hills campus. The kid-friendly lineup of artists includes Parker Bent, Mariachi Tierra Mia, Kymberly Stewart, and Spring Groove. Expect food trucks and concessions on hand as well. Runs 10 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.


13th Annual El Velorio Cultural Celebration (October 14) -> One of L.A. County’s largest Día de los Muertos celebrations returns to Plaza de la Raza for an evening of one-of-a-kind art pieces from over 150 artists plus two stages of live performances, Aztec Dancers, custom motorcycle displays, face painting, food, and craft vendors. GA tickets start at $30. More info here.

Culver City Art Walk and Roll Festival (October 14) – M FA > A four-block stretch of Washington Blvd will close to traffic for a day-long event featuring gallery visits, artists, live music, wine and beer gardens, a kids zone, interactive art experiences, and more. Free and open to the public. More info here.

CicLAvia – Heart of LA (October 15) – M FA TP > CicLAvia – Heart of LA brings the city’s biggest open streets event to Downtown Los Angeles for a route that includes hubs in Chinatown, Mariachi Plaza, Grand Park, and Pershing Square. Check out the digital map on the event website to spot local business and points of interest to visit along the nearly 8-mile course. Runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and free to attend as always. More info here.

Binge Free Festival (October 15 – November 19) – FA > Santa Monica’s version of Fringe Festival offers four-plus weeks of free performances workshops, readings, music and poetry at the Santa Monica Playhouse. All shows are free, but tickets must be reserved in advance. Get more info here.

Grand Ave Arts: All-Access (October 21) – M FA TP > Dive into L.A.’s arts and culture scene when Grand Ave Arts: All Access returns to Downtown Los Angeles. Now in its seventh year, this free community event invites Angelenos to explore DTLA’s cultural corridor and enjoy performances, workshops, and activities provided by 14 iconic L.A. cultural institutions. The event is free to attend, but visitors are encouraged to RSVP here

Taste of Soul (October 21) – M FA TP > Experience the flavors and culture of South Los Angeles at Taste of Soul. This free family festival on Crenshaw Blvd. between Barack Obama Blvd. and Stocker Avenue draws over 350,000 attendees, showcasing the neighborhood’s best with 150+ vendors. Enjoy soulful cuisine, live performances, and community all in one day. This year’s celebrity chair is Tiffany Haddish. Even runs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. More info here.

Pasadena Playhouse Family Day (October 21) – FA > The Pasadena Playhouse hosts a community celebration featuring children’s musicians, dancers, circus acts, arts and crafts stations, face painters, balloon animal artists, food trucks, and more. Runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.

San Fernando Outdoor Market (October 21) – FA > San Fernando Outdoor Market hosts a special “Spooky Market” edition just in time for Halloween. Expect 90+ vendors plus a classic car display, food, and other entertainment. Runs 5 to 9 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.

Fall Festival at the Original Farmers Market (October 21-22) –FA > The two-day Fall Festival at the Original Farmers Market features a pumpkin patch, games, live music, and crafting for kids. More info here.

Beverly Hills Art Show (October 21-22) – FA TP > The fall edition of the bi-annual Beverly Hills Art Show comes to Beverly Gardens Park with over 200 artists expected to participate. Runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Free to attend. More info here.

Brewery Artwalk (October 21-22) – FA > The bi-annual Brewery Artwalk is back with a free two-day showcase of over 100 participating resident artists, offering the chance to chat with makers, peruse new works, and shop direct from the artists themselves. Runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days. Free to attend. More info here.

Downtown Día de los Muertos (October 21 to November 2) – M FA > Gloria Molina Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos welcomes parkgoers to contribute to a community altar and to stroll through the park to view 19 altars. Free to visit any time of day. Get more info here.

Halloween Hootenanny Craft Beer Festival (October 21) -> The third annual festival brings 40+ craft breweries, cideries, wineries & kombucha makers to the Museum of Latin American Art for a one-day event. GA tickets start at $50 per person. More info here.

Boo At The Zoo ( October 21-22, 28-29) -> On back-to-back weekends heading into Halloween, swing over to the Los Angeles Zoo for Boo at the Zoo, a family-friendly assortment of seasonal activities, including animal pumpkin feedings, themed photo ops, trick-or-treating stations, story readings, and an extinct animal graveyard. Entry is included with zoo admission, which starts at $22 for adults. More info here.

P-22 Day Festival (October 22)- FA TP > The P-22 Day Festival honors L.A.’s most famous big cat (may he rest in peace!) with a one day, family-friendly celebration in Griffith Park featuring a day filled with exhibits and educational activities for big cat lovers of all-ages. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free to attend. More info here.

AFI Fest (October 25-29) -> The American Film Institute’s annual celebration of artistic excellence runs over five days of screenings at TCL Chinese Theatre and the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. This year’s lineup includes over 140 films from 49 countries, including 18 Best International Feature Oscar submissions. Tickets start at $18 per feature film screening, $10 for shorts programs, or $100 for a 6-ticket bundle. Get more info here.


Day of the Dead at El Pueblo (October 25 – November 2) – FA > In celebration of Día de Muertos, the Olvera Street Plaza will be decorated with altars for the public to view (starting October 28), along with nightly processions and live entertainment on select days. More info here.

The Nightmare Before Christmas at The Bowl (October 27-29) -> Danny Elfman returns to the Hollywood Bowl for a three-night musical performance of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas in concert, backed by conductor John Mauceri with a full orchestra and a few special surprise guests. There will also be a costume contest and a pre-concert trick-or-treat activation for kids. Tickets start as low as $39.50. Get more info here.

Día de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever (October 28) -> The 24th Annual Día de los Muertos festival at Hollywood Forever returns featuring unique daytime and evening events. Programming varies for the day/night events, but for both expect altars, traditional dance, art exhibits, culinary vendors, and a ceremonial procession. GA tix start at $35 for day, $60 for night. Get more info here.

Creatures of Halloween at Eaton Canyon (October 28) – FA > Wildlife education org Teranga Ranch comes to Eaton Canyon for a special 45 minute educational session on bats, including facts on which bats live in our area, what they eat, and how they communicate. The session is free and open to the public, no reservation required. Runs 5:30 to 7 p.m. More info here.

Haunted Little Tokyo Block Party (October 28) – M FA TP > One of Los Angeles’ most historic neighborhoods is throwing a 21+ block party for spooky season. Free to attend, the party will feature live music, a full bar, costume contest, and food. More info here.

L.A. Archives Bazaar (October 28) – M FA > Attention SoCal history hounds! Come to L.A. as Subject’s Los Angeles Archives Bazaar to peruse a trove of historical treasures and interact with experts from dozens of institutions and archives. The event takes place at Doheny Memorial Library on the campus of USC and is free and open to the public. More info here.

Spooky Halloween Artisan Market (October 28) – M FA > Ovation Hollywood and Dreamers Market team up for a spooky and kid-friendly afternoon of Halloween fun inside Ovation’s central courtyard. Expect live music, special vendors, and trick-or-treat surprises. Pet friendly too. Free to attend. Runs noon to 5 p.m. More info here.t

626 Golden Streets Arroyo Fest (October 29) – M FA TP > On the last Sunday in October, the Arroyo Seco Parkway closes down to vehicular traffic to allow visitors to experience L.A.’s first freeway up close and personal. Walk, bike, skate, or jog while dipping off the route to explore local neighborhoods, enjoy live entertainment and engage with activity hubs at three separate locations. Runs 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free and open to the public. More info here.

Día de los Muertos at Forest Lawn (October 29) – FA > Forest Lawn’s is hosting Día de los Muertos events at three locations through L.A. County on October 29. Each includes special altars plus traditional folklórico and mariachi music. All are free to attend. Get more info here.

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