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What to do in Ottawa this October 2023

It’s officially autumn, so unpack those cozy sweaters and flannel shackets, dust off those boots and take advantage of endless fall activities around Ottawa. The excitement doesn’t slow down just because the temperature outside is dropping; there are markets, festivals, Halloween attractions, pumpkin patches, galas, concerts and parties to mark on the calendar this month.

With tons of spooky-themed events, plus many other things to do even if you don’t love Halloween, here are some top picks on what to do in Ottawa (and the surrounding area) this October.

Harvest Night Market

Where: 366 Parkdale Ave., Ottawa, ON 

When: October 4, 2023  

Visit the Wednesday Parkdale Night Market for a special fall edition between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. The event is their only evening farmers’ market in October so don’t miss out on shopping from various vendors, enjoying live music and eating tasty hot food.

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Capital Pop Up Cinema Presents Dracula (1931)

Where: Beechwood Cemetery, 280 Beechwood Ave., Vanier, ON 

When: October 6, 2023  

Add some spirit to your movie night by watching a classic horror film set up behind a mausoleum. A free outdoor outdoor screening of Dracula (1931) at the cemetery will surely get you into the mood for Halloween. The film begins at dusk, so don’t forget to bundle up, bring a lawn chair and blankets. Feel free to bring snacks, but refreshments will also be for sale.

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Ottawa Senators Games

Where: Canadian Tire Centre, 1000 Palladium Dr., Ottawa, ON 

When: October 14, 15, 18, 21, and 24, 2023 

Kick off hockey season in Canada with a pre-season game or one of the first matches of the year — opening weekend games are on October 14 and 15. Put your CAA Membership to good use and save big on Sens tickets as well as swag. Save up to 32% on select regular season home games and enjoy a 10% discount on merchandise both online and in-store. Sport your best red, black and gold. 

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Witchcraft & Wizardry Ottawa

Where: Secret start location in Ottawa to be revealed 

When: October 7, 2023  

Grab your favourite witches and wizards and create a team of up to six people to embark on a magical journey in Ottawa. You’ll become a detective trying to solve a murder mystery in a mystic world. Uncover secrets, solve riddles, search for clues throughout the adventure and crack the case. You can begin at any time between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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Fall For Merrickville

Where: Heritage Stables, 620 Heritage Dr., Merrickville, ON 

When: October 7, 2023  

Enjoy an autumn day in the county, browsing different vendors at the Thanksgiving Market and participating in farm fun activities. Booths will be set up with everything from pottery and clothing to pies, preserves and flowers that you can buy. Bring the family on a hayride, visit the petting zoo, meet some ponies, listen to live music, have your face painted and more. Tickets are available online.

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Acres Of Terror

Where: Cannamore Orchard, 1480 County Rd. 32, Crysler, ON 

When: Select days and evenings September 29 – October 30, 2023 

If you love the horror of Halloween, prepare to scream at this haunted orchard attraction. The ticket includes admission to four spooky components. There is the Spooky Wagon Ride with over 30 scare actors; the House of Terror, where a fun house meets a haunted house; Spooky Village, which features seven different scary-themed buildings; and a Fog Maze. Tickets need to be purchased ahead of time online, and the entire attraction is wheelchair accessible.

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Pumpkins After Dark

Where: Wesley Clover Parks, 401 Corkstown Rd., Nepean, ON 

When: September 29 – October 31, 2023  

Jack-o-lanterns appear to come alive along this evening walk-through attraction. With multiple locations in Canada, including Milton, Ontario, this award-winning Halloween attraction has gained popularity, and this is its first year in Ottawa. Over 10,000 carved pumpkins are featured in designs and displays that will blow you away. Explore the glowing pathway as themed music surrounds you. You can also watch live pumpkin carvings and grab some fall treats.  

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Fall Colours Chairlift Rides

Where: Calabogie Peaks Resort, 30 Barrett Chute Rd., Calabogie, ON 

When: October 1, 7, 8, 9, 14 and 15, 2023  

Float over the vibrant autumn colours of Ontario on a ski hill chairlift. It’s a beautiful and easy way to enjoy nature and admire the changing seasons. You can ride the chairlift up the mountain and hop off to take in the lookout, then take the lift back to the base or hike your way down. Chairlift rides are unlimited for the day you get a ticket.

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Pumpkin Fest At Proulx Farm

Where: 1865 O’Toole Rd., Cumberland, ON 

When: Select days until October 29, 2023 (including Thanksgiving Monday) 

Celebrate the autumn season at what the farm calls a “giant Halloween playground.” You can explore the pumpkin patch and pick your own, along with many other activities like hay structures, face painting, corn mazes, a forest wagon ride, a petting zoo, bounce houses, slides and more. Bring your picnic, grab something from the snack bar, and take a photo by the towering pumpkin displays. 

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Where: Proulx Farm, 1865 O’Toole Rd., Cumberland, ON 

When: Fridays and Saturdays in October, plus October 31, 2023  

For those who enjoy more of a scare, visit Proulx Farm in the evening for the Halloween sKreamers event. If you’re brave enough, take a haunted wagon ride through the border forest, then wander through the Side Laboratory and Front Barn. Avoid the evil that hides behind every tree and dark corner. You can get tickets online or at the door.  

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Where: Upper Canada Village, 13740 County Rd. 2, Morrisburg, ON 

When: Select dates September 29 – October 29, 2023  

Full of fan favourites and exciting new installations, tour an outdoor Halloween trail aglow with twinkling jack-o-lanterns artistically carved in different themes. You’ll explore the historic scenes in Upper Canada Village featuring over 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins, then stay to eat or shop. Make a reservation at an on-site restaurant for a full meal or indulge in a sweet BeaverTail, browse the market shop and watch your kids enjoy the play areas.  

The village hosts accessibility nights on October 3, 10 and 17 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. so those with sensory processing or mobility issues can enjoy the pumpkin trail from the comfort of their vehicle.  

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Fall Fun On The Farm

Where: The Log Farm, 670 Cedarview Rd., Ottawa, ON  

When: Various dates until October 29, 2023  

Experience a fun wagon ride through the woods, navigate a three-acre corn maze, explore the pumpkin patch for your perfect find, browse fall décor and keep your eyes peeled for silly scarecrows. Your little ones can also climb on hay bales, pet farm animals and enjoy play areas.  

Amp up your fall celebrations and have the family show off your best costumes by dressing up and visiting the farm on October 28 or 29, 2023, for the Halloween Costume Party. All of the fall farm activities will be running.  

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Where: Ferme Benoit Vernier, 560 69e Ave., Saint-Zotique, QC 

When: Select dates until October 22, 2023 

With orange gourds and fall activities surrounding you, this magical pumpkin village is an extremely festive spot to hunt for your ideal porch décor. There are tons of pumpkin houses that make for fabulous family photos, including a saloon, church and café, all made completely out of pumpkins. Other displays include a kissing booth and a red phone booth. Buy some snacks from food trucks, browse a little market, explore the corn maze, watch an outdoor theatre play and slide down new inflatable games. Grab some tokens to enjoy carnival games and additional activities like balloon darts, pumpkin painting, ring toss, duck races, and more. 

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Fall Pumpkin Days

Where: Saunders Farm, 7893 Bleeks Rd., Munster, ON  

When: Weekends until October 29, 2023 

Known for its FrightFest Halloween attraction, you can also bring the kids to the farm during the day to pick pumpkins and enjoy autumn activities. Take a wagon ride past farm fields, including the pumpkin patch, watch the kids explore a variety of mazes and playgrounds, play spooky carnival games like Zombie Brain Toss and soar over the farm on a zipline. There are also outdoor shows, a parade and mild haunts during the days.

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Evil Unleashed

Where: 373 Legget Dr. Kanata, ON 

When: Various dates until October 31, 2023  

Your heart rate is sure to start racing if you visit this collection of haunted houses. Face the darkness, and whatever is hiding there to spook you, as you journey through a series of terrifying haunts, each with a different theme, scary characters and bone-chilling surprises. The attractions include the Asylum, Field of Screams, Wormhole, Haunted Mansion and Anubis’ Revenge. If you buy an All Axe-cess VIP pass you will skip to the front of the line with access to all five haunts as well as four escape rooms, the ability to hangout in a VIP lounge area, have parking included and get a special T-shirt.  

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Scotch Line Farm

Where: 2579 Scotch Line Rd., Perth, ON 

When: Fridays, Saturdays and holiday Mondays in October 2023  

 play outdoor games. 

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Millers Farm And Market

Where: 6158 Rideau Valley Dr., Ottawa, ON 

When: Daily until October 31, 2023  

Visit a pumpkin patch in Manotick. There are multiple photo-ops, including the pumpkin hut, play structures, a corn maze to navigate, food trucks, and the market shed to grab treats, preserves and flowers to bring home.   

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Courges & Cie

Where: 59 Chem. Myre, Gatineau, QC 

When: Thursdays to Sundays throughout October 2023  

Frolic through spacious fields, growing more than 200 varieties of pumpkins and squash. Whether you’re ready to get some autumn baking done or are looking for your ideal porch décor, there will be tons of colours, shapes and sizes to pick from. Stay for a meal and enjoy wood-fired pizza, fried zucchini, or squash poutine and treat yourself to a pumpkin donut.  

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Ouimet Farms Adventure

Where: 63 Main St., W., Vankleek Hill, ON 

When: Weekends until October 29, 2023  

Get lost in one of the largest and most artistic corn mazes around. For 2023, the seven-acre corn maze is dedicated to the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II. Navigate rows of corn stalks through her likeness and corn as you hunt for hidden mailboxes throughout the trail. Other activities include gem mining, pedal kart races, giant pillow jumping, pumpkin picking, and more. 

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The Festival Of Small Halls

Where: Various Ontario locations 

When: Weekends October 5 – 22, 2023  

For three weekends, multiple shows will be held in “small halls” in Ontario. Tickets are available for sale online.  

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Poutinefest On Sparks

Where: Sparks St., Ottawa, ON  

When: October 12 – 15, 2023  

Head downtown for the cheesiest and graviest festival around. A large collection of poutine vendors will line the pedestrian street, including food trucks and nearby restaurants. Of course, you can find a classic poutine, but there will also be creative variations covered in different toppings. Live entertainment will play along the street during the festival.  

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SAWMILL At Lansdowne

Where: TD Place, 1000 Exhibition Way, Ottawa, ON 

When: Select dates October 13 – 31, 2023  

For 13 nights only, experience the horror of FrightFest. As the story goes, you’ll explore an underground world where a colony of miners was buried and forgotten. Keep your wits about you as you dodge scarers and spooky special effects. 

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Fall Rhapsody

Where: Across the Ottawa region  

When: Free shuttle on weekends and holidays until October 22, 2023 

The National Capital region becomes an autumn painting each October, covered in yellow, orange and red hues from Gatineau Park to the Greenbelt. It’s an ideal time for hiking as the weather cools and the leaves are changing, and you can check the online colour meter to see what stage the leaves are at. 

The free NCC shuttle first departs at 9 a.m. on weekends and does a loop route from downtown Ottawa to Gatineau Park locations, including Pink Lake and King Mountain. 

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Ottawa Pet Expo

Where: The EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Dr., Ottawa ON 

When: October 14 and 15, 2023  

Visit Ottawa’s largest family pet show, and feel free to bring your furry friend and kids along. This event is for animal lovers, from grooming demonstrations and a cat show to a pet-focused marketplace and a reptile and plant exposition. Tickets are available both online and at the gate.  

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The Spooktacular Craft Market

Where: Glebe Community Centre, 175 Third Ave., Ottawa, ON 

When: October 21, 2023 

You can shop at a Halloween-themed market featuring over 40 unique vendors. It’s free to visit, and there will also be a free workshop that you can join. 

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Where: Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank St., Ottawa, ON 

When: October 27, 28 and 31, 2023  

If you’ve never watched the 1975 film, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with it before a theatre screening as it’s an interactive event and audience participation is highly encouraged. This iconic musical horror comedy is a must-see around Halloween, and watching it in a historic theatre as a shadow cast performs the scenes simultaneously is a unique experience. Feel free to dress up as your favourite character, bring props (newspapers, toast, playing cards, etc.) and prepare to dance in the aisles.  

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Where: The Rainbow Bistro, 76 Murray St., Ottawa, ON 

When: October 26 – 28, 2023  

Rock out over Halloween weekend with a lineup of local bands in the Byward Market. This new festival will combine the energy of rock music with the spirit of spooky season, and all ages are welcome. Ticket proceeds support the OrKidstra program, which teaches kids from under-served communities life skills through music. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. on all three nights.  

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Day Of The Dead Festival

Where: Byward Market, Ottawa, ON 

When: October 27 – 29, 2023 

Celebrate the Mexican cultural tradition of the Day Of The Dead. This vibrant festival honours loved ones who have passed away through dance, music, art and food. There will be activities for all ages, from craft workshops and a parade to musical performances and themed bingo. Learn how to do salsa or folkloric dance, enter a contest with your best moves, discover new cooking skills, and taste authentic Oaxacan dishes. Throughout the days, you can browse a market, enjoy music and feast on traditional meals. Best of all, this fun event is free to attend.  

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Hallowheel Roller Disco

Where: Horticulture Building, 1525 Princess Patricia Way, Ottawa, ON 

When: October 27, 2023 

Glide into this monster event in Ottawa and skate along a smooth concrete rink with festive lights and haunted tunes. The all-ages roller-skating event runs from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The adult Halloween roller disco starts at 8:30 p.m. Feel free to bring your quads or inline skates, or some will be available to rent.  

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Haunted Heritage Tours

Where: 1549 Main St. S., Stittsville, ON  

When: Fridays and Saturdays until November 11, 2023  

Discover the haunted tales of Stittsville’s past. You’ll wander the town, hearing legendary ghost stories under the cloak of night. It runs for about an hour and a half, beginning at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. each evening. 

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Haunted Ottawa Jail Tour

Where: 46 1/2 Sparks St., Ottawa, ON 

When: Most days in October 2023 

The Haunted Ottawa Jail Tour is back. Join this spooky tour almost daily through October into December to uncover a real-life murder mystery and explore the cellblocks of past criminals. Find out how haunted these halls still are.  

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Bring your CAA Membership this spooky season

Starting at just $30 a year, CAA Members can enjoy discounts on everything from dining out and filling up on fuel, to savings on your car and travel insurance, as well as other benefits. You can view the list of 126,000 partner locations worldwide and compare Membership plans online. 

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