20 Free Things to Do 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 me?). 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.

Go Greek. October 6-8 is the annual Greek festival in NE Portland. There’s no admission, and you can treat yourself to folk dancing, cooking demos, singing, face painting, coloring, games and more. (You will have to pay to sample the food.)

Make it a Museum Day. Head to a local museum on one of the many free days. The Oregon Historical Society is always free for Multnomah County residents, plus check here to find out when you can score free admission to the Portland Art Museum, Children’s Museum, and more.

Become a Makeup Artist. Learn from a local makeup artist how to transform your face into a sugar skull, just in time for Dia De Los Muertos. This class will be held at three local libraries on October 5, 21 and 25.

Skip the Parking Fee. October 11 is Metro Free Parks Day. Enjoy free parking at Oxbow and Blue Lake regional parks, Broughton Beach, M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp, and Chinook Landing Marine Park.

Snuggle in for a Story. Head to your local library practically any day of the week, or journey over to Green Bean Books in NE Portland on Tuesdays and Sundays, or Powells on Saturdays to get your book fix.

Take a Bite. Get ready to taste as many as 60 different varieties of apples at Portland Nursery’s annual apple tasting festival. You’ll also find kids’ activities like face painting, a scavenger hunt, coloring sheets and more. The event runs October 13-15 and 20-22.

Plant a bulb. Head to Al’s Garden & Home on October 14 to plant a pot of bulbs and flowers to take home.

Stream a Halloween movie. Stream a Halloween movie 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.

Rock Out. The 37th Annual Portland Regional Gem and Mineral Show is October 15. Check out the beauty of rocks, fossils, gems and more, and hang out at the kids’ activity corner. Kids 12 and under get free admission ($5 for adults).

Take in a Show. The Little Ears free concert series for children is a great chance to expose your kids to the arts—for free! This month, check out Penny’s Puppets on October 17 as she performs The 3 Little Pigs & the Huffy Puffy Wolf.

Volunteer with Us! Come join us as we volunteer with Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP) on October 17. Sign up here. Can’t make it? Try one of these other kid-friendly volunteering opportunities.

Make Like a Duck. ‘Tis the season for puddle stomping! Grab your boots and go for it.

Channel Your Inner Pilot. Have a budding airplane enthusiast? Head to the Hillsboro Airport on October 21 for their air fair. Take a tour of the airfield, try our hand at flying into the airport on a simulator, and more.

Spread Your Wings. Go on a night walk to learn about creatures of the night like the Great Horned Owl, Turkey Vulture, and Raven with the Audubon Society of Portland on October 21. There will also be crafts and learning stations.

Tour the Hood. Walk around the neighborhood at night and find the house with the spookiest, most over-the-top decorations. Maybe it’s even your house?

Paint a pumpkin. Bring your pumpkin or use one of theirs – either way, enjoy an afternoon of pumpkin painting at the Lake Oswego library on October 27.

Prep for the Big Day. The Monster March—a Sellwood staple—has become a hit for families in neighborhoods across Portland. Get out your Halloween costume a few days early on October 29 and stroll the streets of Westmoreland and Sellwood while local businesses and neighbors hand out candy.

Get a Little Spooked. Head to your local library to pick up one of these mostly-sweet, maybe-a-little-spooky books, hand-picked for us by Annie Bloom’s Books.

Get a Little More Spooked. Local comic book stores are putting on the Halloween ComicFest on October 28. This free event boasts all day comic giveaways, comic tricks and treats, a costume contest and more.

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

Ali Wilkinson
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Ali Wilkinson

Online Editor at PDX Parent
Ali Wilkinson is the Online Editor for PDX Parent, and is one of the founders of PDX Kids Calendar. She loves exploring Portland with her three small children, especially when the explorations lead outdoors, to music or to ice cream. You can read more from Ali at www.runknitlove.com.
Ali Wilkinson
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