Note for 2021: Some events (such as the Pumpkin Regatta, sadly) have been canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
October can be an expensive month—Halloween candy, costumes, decorations, more Halloween candy after you ate the Halloween candy you bought earlier in the month (just us?). But there’s no reason to break the bank when going out and about with the kiddos. Here are some ideas for free kid-friendly fun this month.
Explore Mike Bennett’s Museum of Mystery
Check out beloved local artist Mike Bennett’s famous Crypto-Zoo: Museum of Mystery in St. Johns. Play games, win prizes, and walk through the immersive museum filled with 26 life-size Cryptids, Monsters and Mythical Beasts! Plus don’t miss the Halloween concert with Hi Joe Kye! on October 30, 3pm. Free. Masks required and social distancing enforced. Daily, 10a-5p, through November 5.
Cheer for the Blazers! Register now for a FREE TICKET to the 2021 Blazers Fan Fest, Blazers Fan Fest and get the first look at the 2021-22 Trail Blazers team with a behind-the-scenes peek at an open practice and exciting intrasquad scrimmage. Plus, there’ll be lots of food, fun and prizes for the whole family. Free. Moda Center, Saturday, Oct 2, 2:30p.
Go to the Birdfest & Bluegrass festival for nature, music and art. At the Annual BirdFest and Bluegrass Celebration in Ridgefield, WA, you can check out the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, hike through the refuge, and check out kids’ activities and an Audubon Live Bird Show. Some workshops require registration. **Update for 2021: This year the event will be mostly virtual, with some in-person in-town events, including vendors and music in Downtown Ridgefield, and a self-guided Refuge hike. The rest of the festival will be accessible via video on their website.** Saturday, October 2.
Check out a free family bike performance. Three great performers will share their magic, comedy, music and fun in a short tour of SE Portland! Free, donations encouraged. Fun on Wheels Tour starts at Favela Brazilian Cafe, Sunday, Oct 3, 3:30.
Run through bubbles. Don’t miss this year’s Bubble Run, where you’l feel like you’re jogging through Willy Wonka’s factory. October 16, registration is free. **Update 10/12: the “free registration window” is now closed**
Take part in a farm field trip on Sauvie Island. Wednesday, October 6, head out to Sauvie Island for Topaz Farm Family Field Trip Day. Learn the science behind farming and growing our food at this open-house style event guided by staff and volunteers. 10 am -1 pm. Arrive before 12:30 pm. Free for Friends of Topaz Farm. Registration required.
Plant trees for Portland Arbor Day. Tree canopy coverage citywide helps make Portland a healthier, greener place to live. Join Portland’s tree planting celebration on Saturday, October 30, 10 am-12 pm, rain or shine at Lentz Park. All ages and abilities welcome; no previous planting experience required.
Get free trees for your yard. This city of Portland is giving away 1800 trees this fall! Register for yours today. Trees must be planted inside the Portland city limits, limit 2 free trees per household.
Skip the parking fee. October 21 is Metro Free Parking Day. Enjoy free parking at Oxbow and Blue Lake regional parks, Broughton Beach, M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp, and Chinook Landing Marine Park.
Check out some awesome carved pumpkins. Beginning October 16, head out to West Linn on weekends for a kid-friendly Halloween display featuring 200 intricately carved pumpkins with music, fog, lasers, and UV glow lights.
Appreciate art. Thanks to Portland Open Studios, you and your children can take a self-guided tour of artists at work in their studios for two weekends in October.
Help the salmon. Join the Johnson Creek Watershed Council in enhancing the habitat of Crystal Springs Creek, a designated salmon sanctuary. Volunteers will be installing native plants along the creek on October 9, 9 am-noon. Kids accompanied by their grown-ups are welcome!
Go on a Día de los Muertos Bike Tour. Milagro Theatre is hosting a FREE La Bici Altar Tour on October 30, beginning at 1p. Come in costume, decorate your bike and go on a tour of altars at local businesses in the neighborhood. Also check out their calendar of free productions!
Give back. Try one of these kid-friendly volunteering opportunities.
Get Snacking. Try one of these easy, lower sugar Halloween treats.
Make like a duck. ‘Tis the season for puddle stomping! Grab your boots and go for it.
Tour the hood. Walk around the neighborhood at night and find the house with the spookiest, most over-the-top decorations. Maybe it’s even your house?
Wear your costume to the market. On October 30th your littles can trick-or-treat at the Happy Valley Farmers Market.
Trick or Treat! The ultimate free October event! Get those bags or buckets and get some candy!