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1. Fun4GatorKids October Events – Each week Fun4GatorKids visits a fun family-friendly place in the Gainesville area! Join us for our October weekly playgroups, which will include a trip to Coon Hollo Corn Maze, painting pumpkins at the Trinity UMC Pumpkin Patch, taking a hayride at the Alachua Pumpkin Patch, and enjoying a Fall Party at Buddy Creations!
2. Corn Mazes – Visiting a corn maze is a must during the fall! Both Coon Hollo Corn Maze and the Newberry Cornfield Maze offer more than just giant mazes! Families can enjoy hay rides, haunted houses, games and more! Just remember that corn mazes typically transition from family friendly to super scary at nightfall!
3. Pumpkin Patches – There are eight patches in the Gainesville area, including the Trinity UMC Pumpkin Patch! The proceeds from this patch support local and global missions, so we visit each year...a visit that typically lasts a couple hours! While we hunt for the perfect pumpkin (and there are TONS to choose from), we take family pictures and play on the amazing playground adjacent to the patch. There is even a hay ride! But be careful not to wait until a few days before Halloween to find your perfect pumpkin. We made that mistake a couple years ago and the hundreds of pumpkins were pretty picked over.
4. City of Gainesville Spotlight – Throughout October, the city offers several, often FREE, events to the community!
Drool and Ghoul (10/22) – From 11:30 am until 1:30 pm, Westside Pool and splash pad will be open to DOGS! There will be a costume contest, photos, local vendors and more! The cost is $5, and all donations will support local animal charities.
Barnyard Buddies (Sept.-May) – Each Wednesday, kids can help feed the farm animals at Morningside Nature Center at 3 pm!
Frogs and Friends Fridays (Sept.-May) – On the first Friday of the month, take the kids to see, touch, feed and maybe even hold frogs and other amphibians and reptiles at Morningside Nature Center from 2-3 pm!
Free Fridays Concert Series – Head to downtown Gainesville each Friday through Oct. 23 for a free concert starting at 8 pm! These FREE concerts will be at the newly renovated Bo Didley Plaza!
Living History Days (Sept. – May) – On the first Saturday of each month, Morningside Nature Center comes alive as interpreters portray day-to-day life on an 1870 Florida farm!
5. Fiddler on the Roof (9/23-10/16) – The Gainesville Community Playhouse presents Fiddler on the Rood! This classic of musical theater features songs everyone knows, from the title Fiddler on the Roof to Matchmaker. It will be a performance to remember!
6. Fall Mini Photo Sessions (Sept. 30-Oct. 29) – Step 317 Photography is offering Fall Mini Sessions throughout October! These short session are perfect for capturing adorable fall photos of your kiddos without making them smile for hours! Plus, you can use them for your holiday cards!
7. Haile Village Oktoberfest (10/7) – NOTE: CANCELED DUE TO THE HURRICANE! The streets of Haile bustle with food and fun for this annual fall event. As you walk the streets, listening to live music and visiting vendors, be sure to stop by the Fun4GatorKids tent! We will be giving out GLOW STICKS!
8. Dudley Kids Day: Spiders and Webs (10/15) – Dudley Farm hosts a Kid's Day on the second Saturday of the month (October-May), and October's theme is Spiders and Webs! Kids will love learning about spiders and how they make their webs, plus families can walk through the historic farm and buildings, try hand washing and hanging clothes on a line, and participate in other fun activities! There are perfect picnic spots, so be sure to pack a lunch!
9. The Science of Wizardry Workshops – Nutty Scientists is offering a handful of Wizardry Workshops on Oct. 15 and Oct. 22. Find out what school of wizardry you really belong to at these workshops inspired by the Harry Potter Book Series! The cost is $12/child. Workshop options include: Potions Class for ages 6-10 (October 15 at 11am and 1pm); Mythical Creatures Workshop for ages 7-10 (Oct 22 at 11 and 1pm); and Wizard Spells and Wands Workshop for ages 6-10 ( October 15 and 22 at 3pm and 4pm)
10. Corks & Colors Fall Footprint Plates (10/8, 10/15, 10/29) - Turn your little one's toes into a work of art at Corks & Colors Studio! On Oct. 8, your child's footprints can get transformed into a ghost and on Oct. 15 prepare for the most adorable candy corn footprints- both are perfect for your Halloween candy bowl! And on Oct. 29, the footprints will turn into a turkey for a Thanksgiving hotplate or cute fall decoration. Don't worry if you're not exactly an artist! You will get free help!
11. Trinity UMC Great Pumpkin Run (10/9) – Dress up in your costumes or pumpkin attire for this family-friendly fun run! Leading up to the race, families can enjoy time in the pumpkin patch, hayrides and bounce houses. Refreshments and prizes follow the run, plus all proceeds will support mission trips!
12. Screaming for Safety (10/13) - Organized by Gainesville City Fire Rescue, this free community event is a must for our family each October.Kids bounce from station to station and learn about safety through fun activities and can even get free bike helmets if needed. Just a little plug: Fun4GatorKids will have a booth at the event this year! Be sure to stop by and say hi and get a tattoo!
13. Campus USA Movie on the Lawn (10/13) – Bring your picnic blanket and claim your spot on the front lawn at Empower Park (CAMPUS USA Credit Union Headquarters) to see Zootopia under the stars. The movie starts at 7:15 pm, but the fun begins at 6 pm! There will be popcorn, refreshments, entertainment and cool giveaways!
14. Uncle Donald's Farm (10/14, 10/15, 10/21, 10/22) – Plan a trip to Uncle Donald's Farm to enjoy one of their 'Fall Fun Nights!' You can take a nighttime hayride, visit the pumpkin patch and walk through the hay maze! Plus you can take a "Walk on the Wildside" to spot nocturnal animals and visit the "Creep Crawly Barn" for a close encounter with reptiles!
15. Alachua Main Street Fall Festival (10/16) – From 11 am until 5 pm, vendors will fill the sheets of Main Street in Downtown Historic Alachua for a fun fall afternoon. Pus there will be lots of free activities for the kiddos, including a fun craft at the Fun4GatorKids tent. Be sure to stop by and say hi!
16. Buddy Creations Crafts and Coffee (10/18) – Head to Buddy Creations for a Fall-inspired crafts and coffee playdate! There will be fall-themed crafts, a coffee bar, refreshments and a photo booth! Plus, each family will get a coupon for 20% off anything purchased at the event. NOTE: Tickets to the event are $4. Call (352) 332-0203 to purchase your tickets!
17. Alachua County Fair (10/21 -10/29) – It's back! Enjoy rides, games, shows and live music, plus see farm animals and enjoy carnival food at this yearly event! Be sure to buy your unlimited wristband at Walgreens the first week of October!
18. Boo at the Roo (10/22) – The Rooterville Sanctuary, home to hundreds of pigs and other rescued farm animals, is throwing its first Halloween Party! There will be treats, games and crafts. Plus you can bring fruits and PUMPKINS to feed to the animals. Just remember to wear closed-toed shoes!
19. Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale (10/22 - 10/26) – This highly-anticipated mega sale will have over 500,000 books, magazine, posters and the like, with most items only costing between 25 cents and $4. The final day of the sale is 10 cent day! All profits from the sale support the Alachua County Library District and community literacy projects.
20. Florida Bat Fest (10/22) - The Lubee Bat Conservancy opens its doors to the public once each year for Bat Fest. At this event, you can walk through cages holding huge bats! After seeing the bats, kids can play for hours on the multiple bounce houses, visit several vendors with bat-themed art activities and products. If you plan to stay for lunch, there are picnic area and food for sale. Remember your sunscreen! NOTE: There will be a small admission fee this year: $5 for children 5-12, $8 for adults, and children 4 and under are free.
21. O2BKids Spooktakular (10/22) – This event is HUGE! From trick-or-treating and costume-contests to spooky science and performances, the entire facility is buzzing with Halloween fun! The event runs for four hours (5-9pm), and you'll need every minute if you want to do all there is to do at Spooktacular. The parking lot fills up fast, so make sure to arrive a few minutes early!
22. Ocala Arts Festival (10/22-10/23) – Downtown Ocala will fill with vendor booths from 155 artists from across the country Oct. 22-33 for the Fine Arts Festival. This event, which draws 25,000 people each year, will also have live entertainment, food vendors and trucks, a student art tent, children's activities and more!
23. Howl-A-Palooza (10/23) - Kids will have a BLAST at this event running around the open gym and enjoying games, bounce houses, rock climbing, the KidQuest indoor playground, the Gym Bus, train rides, haunted houses and more! Plus there will be performances, food and amazing pride baskets up for bidding! There is an admission fee, but this fundraiser supports our local March of Dimes!
24. Ghouls, Goblins and Greeks (10/29) – This FREE events is a must for Gainesville families! Spend the event visiting the 16 houses along Sorority Row, each decorated with an adorable and fun theme! The kids will play games, make crafts, and get tons of candy at each house! The fun runs from 5-8 pm. NOTE: Parking can be tricky, so you'll need to leave yourself enough time to find a parking space!
25. Hawthorne Haunted House and Truck-or-Treat Fun Night (10/28-10/29) – The 'Chamber of Horrors' Haunted House will be open Oct. 28-29 at 7:30 pm! NOTE: This haunted house is OT recommended for small children and costs $3/person. The whole family can enjoy Trick-or-Treat Fun Night on Oct. 29 at no cost!
26. Skate Station Walking Dead Party (10/28) – Admission starts at $9 for this late-night skate party! There will be prizes for Best Dressed Zombies and a Thriller Dance Contest!
27. Fall-O-Ween at Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens (10/29) – Come learn about creepy crawlers, animal life cycles, crafts, plants, and more at Fall-O-Ween in Williston! Kids ages 2-14 will have a blast participating in activities including a 'Spooky walk,' vendors, face paint, crafts and educational activities from 9:30 am until 5 pm.
28. Painting with a Twist: Franken Cuties (10/29) – A professional artist will provide step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow for children ages 7 and older. At the end of the class, each child will have painted an adorable picture of Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein to bring home as a forever Halloween decoration. NOTE: Children ages 7-12 must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the class.
29. Pumpkin Harvest Festival (10/30) – Trinity United Methodist Church puts on a fun-filled fall festival each year! Families can go trunk-or-treating, plus enjoy hayrides, games and so much more! The Fun4GatorKids tent will be at this event joining in the fun, so be sure to stop by!
30. Boo at the Zoo (10/31) – This event is a blast! You can even fit it in before trick-or-treating in your neighborhood. From 3-7:30 pm. Families will travel through the zoo from station to station, each with a unique theme, like Wizard of Oz, Under the Sea or Harry Potter. In addition to collecting treats and spotting animals, families will enjoy Danscompany's "Thriller" performance. Admission is free, but remember to bring canned goods to support Santa Fe Harvest and Catholic Charities!
31. Halloween Family Night at Costa Vida (10/31) – Head to Costa Vida from 4-6 pm for Family Night before taking your kids trick-or-treating! Enjoy dinner, face painting, candy, games and more! NOTE: With every paid adult meal, one child will eat free AND receive a ticket to participate in the activities.