In normal years, October is a month to look forward to events like the Newport Seafood Festival and Halloween festivities at Barnaby Castle, CarnEvil at Newport Vineyards, and Fortress of Nightmares at Fort Adams. While these have been called off due to safety concerns during the pandemic,  there are still plenty of ways to enjoy autumn and keep the Halloween spirit alive in Rhode Island. Here’s a round-up of activities and things to do throughout the state in October:

  1. Jack-O-Lantern Spooktacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo

 The Roger Williams Park Zoo Jack-o-Lantern Spooktacular is still on, in a drive-through format. Purchase tickets online through the link.

YouTube video

2. Take a walk through Rhode Island’s historical cemeteries

Home to the graves of H.P Lovecraft and Mercy Brown, Rhode Island’s dozens of historical cemeteries have more than a few links to American folklore and the occult. But learning about interments in Rhode Island can be a fascinating way to learn about hundreds of years of American history through the lives of prominent citizens like heroes of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, stars of theater and film, politicians, athletes, artists, architects, business leaders and more. You can take a guided tour like these in Providence or decide to walk on your own, using as your guide.

3. Indulge in hot cider and cider donuts at Windmist Farm

Enjoy a hot cider and deliciously fresh cider donuts from the Hard-Pressed Cider Company at Windmist Farm in Jamestown. They’re open on weekends 10 am-4 pm through November 22nd.

4. Experience Swamp Scare with Blackstone Valley Explorer

From October 1-31st, you can experience Swamp Scare with Blackstone Valley Explorer. The Explorer riverboat takes you along a scary (and socially distanced) 20-minute experience on the water. Costumes highly encouraged. Masks are required. Find ticket info here.

5. Pick a pumpkin at a local patch

Some of our favorite places to pick-up pumpkins are Trinity Church Pumpkin Patch in Queen Anne’s Square (opening October 16th), Sweetberry Farm, an The Farmer’s Daughter.

6. Take the kids to the Halloween Scavenger Hunt at The Breakers

The Preservation Society of Newport County just announced that for the first time they will host a Halloween Trick-or-Treat Scavenger Hunt at The Breakers on Friday, October 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Get ticket details here.

7. View peak foliage on one of these scenic drives.

October is peak foliage time in the Ocean State. The best places for leaf peeping are in heavily wooded western and northern Rhode Island. Check out the Blackstone Valley region and take a scenic drive on Route 1 and 1A from Westerly to Wickford. Consult this foliage map to line up your drive with peak foliage.

8. Go on a haunted hayride at Seven Cedars Farm

The Haunted Hayride at Seven Cedars Farm in Smithfield is running on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in October, and following COVID-19 guidelines. Follow their Facebook page for updates.

9. Sample seasonal beers at a Rhode Island brewery

Fall comes with some new seasonal beverages to try from Rhode Island’s many breweries. You can consult the Rhode Island Brewers Guild map or the Beer Travel Guide to scope out places to visit, but make sure you call ahead to determine if they’re open. If not, you may be able to grab beers to go!

10. Enjoy exercise and crisp fall weather on a forest hike

Rhode Island is home to some beautiful hiking trails and October provides some of the best weather to enjoy the views and get some exercise. Some of our favorite spots for forest hikes include Rockville Management Area, Arcadia Management Area, Burlingame State Park, and Weetamoo Woods. Check out All Trails for some more ideas.

A trail in Rockville Management Area in Hope Valley, RI

11. Stay cozy inside and enjoy a film with The Jane Pickens Virtual Theater

Get cozy on your couch, order some take-out and select one of the interesting films available this month in the Jane Pickens Virtual Screening Room. View the JPT Show Calendar here.

12. Take a guided ghost tour

If you’re brave enough, book a ghost tour in Newport or in Providence. For some haunted history.

13. Complete the maize maze at Escobar’s Highland Farm

From now through November 8th, you can visit Escobar’s Highland Farm eight acre corn maze and figure out how to find your way out.