20+ Free Things to Do with Kids in October

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.

Courtesy West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta

Attend the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta. See locals race giant pumpkins (yes!) on Tualatin Commons Lake. On dry land, check out the costume contest, face painting, pumpkin bowling and pumpkin golf. October 22.

Cheer for the Blazers! Register now for a FREE TICKET to the 2023 Blazers Fan Fest and enjoy fandom, food, fun and prizes for the whole family. October 8.


See artists at work. 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. October 14-15 and 21-22.

Get festive. Festival season is still going strong! Check out the Ridgefield Birdfest and Bluegrass Festival, a family-friendly Diwali Celebration in Lake Oswego, and the 2nd Annual El Tigre Fest at Cook Park.

Visit a graveyard. The Davis Graveyard is one of the best free Halloween displays in the city.

See Pirates. Speaking of free Halloween displays, don’t miss the Pirates of Pinehurst. On weekends they often offer free performances, too.

Go to a pumpkin patch. Some patches on our roundup offer free entry, such as Yesteryear Pumpkin Patch, The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island or weekdays at Topaz Farm.


Plant trees for Portland Arbor Day. Tree canopy coverage citywide helps make Portland a healthier, greener place to live. Join the Arbor Day celebration at McCoy Park. Plant and care for trees and enjoy family friendly activities. October 14.

Get free trees for your yard. This city of Portland is giving away 2000 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 9 and 19 are Metro Free Parking Days. Enjoy free parking at Oxbow and Blue Lake regional parks, Broughton Beach, M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp, and Chinook Landing Marine Park.

Stream a Halloween movie. Stream a Halloween movie or borrow one from the library to get ready for the big day. We’ve got a list of some of our favorite not-so-spooky movies, perfect for kids, here.

Check out some awesome carved pumpkins. Beginning October 20, 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.

Get Halloween freebies. Make the rounds, with freebies typically found at Salt & Straw, Krispy Kreme, IHOP, and Mike’s Drive-In on Halloween. Be sure to double-check this year’s offerings, as deals are subject to change. And if you have a birthday this month, check out our list of birthday freebies, too!

Visit a minigallery. Portland goes way beyond little free libraries. Follow this handy map to find a fun and funky gallery near you.

Give back. Try one of these kid-friendly volunteering opportunities.

Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month. Multnomah County Library is holding lots of classes and performances to celebrate.

Get Snacking. Make one of these easy, lower sugar Halloween treats.

Take a hike. Go on one of our recommended fall color hikes or kid-friendly fall trails.

View an eclipse. Wear eye protection and watch the moon pass in front of the sun on October 14.

Go on a troll hunt. There are plenty of magical creatures to be found in the Portland metro area. Find our recs here.

Make daytime trick or treating plans. Many of these Daytime Trick-or-Treating events are free to attend, too. We add to the list all month long, so bookmark it and check regularly as the big day approaches.

Wear your costume to the market. On October 29, your littles can trick-or-treat at the Tigard Farmers Market.

Ride a train. It’s hard to believe, but there’s no entrance fee and no charge to ride the trains at Molalla Train Park. Trick or treat there on October 29, at their Halloween Extravaganza! Donations welcome.

Get a little spooked. Head to your local library (or one of our favorite destination libraries) to pick up one of these mostly-sweet, maybe-a-little-spooky books, hand-picked for us by Annie Bloom’s Books.

Trick or Treat! The ultimate free October event. Get those bags or buckets and get some candy!

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