By Amy Rea

Fall foliage, apples and pumpkins, Halloween—the weather is changing, and so is the nature of the festivals. There’s a lot happening around the state in October. It’s a prime time for art festivals, many of which are in scenic towns sure to be surrounded by fall colors. Don’t forget to check the Minnesota Historical Society’s event page; they’ve always got something interesting going on.

St. Paul
Twin Cities Oktoberfest
Oct. 6-7
Held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, this is your chance to replicate the traditional German autumn celebration with live music and entertainment, dancing, games–and of course, plenty of beer.

New Ulm
Oct. 6-7, 13-14
This little town with rich German heritage celebrates each October with tons of good German food and music, parades, and open-house tours of the Schell Brewery, the Wanda Gag House, the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, and the Morgan Creek Winery.

South St. Paul
On the Road Again Festival
Oct. 7
Southview Boulevard is home to this annual festival, which includes a petting zoo, rides, flea market, car show—and booya competition.

Albert Lea
Big Island Rendezvous and Festival
Oct. 7-8
An enormous re-enactment of life in early America, including food, music, and demonstrations of early American crafts. 

Fri-Sun each weekend in October, also Oct. 19
Valleyfair turns into ValleySCARE in October. Sat-Sun during daylight hours, bring the young ones for the gentle Great Pumpkin Fest, while the Fri-Sat evening hours ramp up the terror with Halloween Haunt: rides, haunted mazes, and more.

Haunted Ship Tours
Open several dates in October, click above for details
For October, the William A. Irvin isn’t just a historical ship—it’s a haunted ship, complete with its own Maze of Terror.

Fall Color Chairlift Rides
Oct. 6-7
View fall colors and the rise of the full moon by enjoying a scenic ride on the chairlifts at Hyland Ski Reserve. Live music and food available as well.

Halloween Capital of the World
Oct. 8-30
Is Anoka really the Halloween capital of the world? Does it matter? With parades, costume contests, bingo, wine tastings, medallion hunt, pumpkin-carving and house-decorating contests, the city of Anoka does get into the spirit.

Twin Cities Book Festival
Oct. 14
Book readings and signings, book sales, and vendors selling all things book. This year’s authors include Lesley Nneka Arimah, Heid Erdrich, Sen. Al Franken, and Cory Doctorow, among many others. Bring a big, durable totebag for your purchases. Maybe I’ll see you there.

St. Paul
Shadows & Spirits of the Capitol
Oct. 19-21, 26-28
Pre-Halloween evening tours of the Capitol, which will be lit similarly to its early days, where “ghosts” of the past tell visitors stories about the Capitol’s history.

Grand Marais
Moose Madness
Oct. 20-22
Moose poetry contests, moose comic contests, a moose medallion hunt, scavenger hunts, arts activities for the young and old, food, music, and of course one of the most scenic spots in Minnesota.

Apple Valley
Oct. 31
Music, crafts, treats, Scarecrow Alley—a jolly good way for the little ones to ease into trick-or-treating routines. Note: This is a Zoo member-only event, so if you’re not yet a member, you’ll need to sign up.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.