Explore New Orleans

31 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in New Orleans in October

A month full of must-dos

October brings a bounty of fall festivals and fun events around the Big Easy. It also ushers in the city’s cultural season, with touring Broadway productions, visiting musicians and traveling dance troupes hitting local stages. It’s almost frightening how much there is to do.

Sazerac House New Orleans
Soak up the city’s liquid lore at the new Sazerac House museum. (©Sazerac House)

Scout Island Scream Park
All Month
Set in scenic City Park, this month-long fright fest offers a variety of spooky fun, along with a “scare-free” play area for kids.  www.scoutislandscreampark.com

The Mortuary Haunted House
All Month
It’s easy to understand why the Travel Channel named this one of the nation’s scariest attractions: It’s housed in a former funeral home with a real-dal cemetery right next door. www.themortuary.net

Sazerac House
Opening Oct. 2
This swanky, 48,000-square-foot museum toasts the “official cocktail of New Orleans,” while exploring the evolution of city’s drinking culture. www.sazerachouse.com

Oct. 2-20
The Broadway blockbuster flies into the Saenger Theatre. www.saengernola.com

“Wicked” explores the backstory of Galinda the Good Witch and Elphaba, Wicked Witch of the West. (©Joan Marcus)

Creole Death & Mourning Exhibition
Oct. 3-31
Step into the circa-1831 Hermann-Grima House, and you’ll find gilt mirrors draped in black crepe and Mrs. Albert Grima laid out in the front parlor, just as she was in October 1850, as part of this annual exploration of Victorian funereal customs. www.hgghh.org

Mind Readers
Oct. 3-6 (recurring weekly)
Three different entertainers, three different shows. Mind-reading, magic and comedy combine for one fun evening at the St. Christopher Hotel. www.stchristopherhotel.com

Miranda Lambert
Oct. 4
The nine-time American Country Music Award winner plays the Smoothie King Center, joined by Maren Morris, the Pistol Annies and Tenille Townes. www.smoothiekingcenter.com

Oct. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19
Follow the oompah music to Deutches Haus on Bayou St. John for brats, beer and Chicken Dancing. www.oktoberfestnola.com

Sample more than 20 varieties of German beer and schnapps during Oktoberfest at Deutsches Haus. (©Katjen/Shutterstock.com)

Oct. 4-6
The New Orleans Opera Association starts its 2019-20 season on a high note with Georges Bizet’s classic at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. www.neworleansopera.org

Tremé Fall Festival
Oct. 5-6
The nation’s oldest African-American neighborhood celebrates 200-plus years on the grounds of the second-oldest African-American Catholic church, with free performances by neighborhood notables. www.hfta.org

Kermit Ruffins
Catch trumpeter Kermit Ruffins at the Tremé Fall Festival. (©Basin Street Records)

Beignet Fest
Oct. 5
Chow down on the city’s signature pastry while local bands before throughout the day at City Park’s Festival Grounds. www.beignetfest.com

Art for Arts’ Sake
Oct. 5
Galleries and museums citywide mount new exhibits and extend hours during this annual art stroll. Get out and get cultured. www.artsdistrictneworleans.com

New Orleans Saints
Oct. 6 & 27
The Black & Gold play two home games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in October, taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct. 6 and the Arizona Cardinals Oct. 27. Both kickoffs are at noon and are preceded by free fan fests, starting three hours prior at the Dome-adjacent Champions Square. www.mbsuperdome.com

Nwe Orleans Saints
Will injured quarterback Drew Brees be back in the game in October? Fingers (and thumbs) crossed. (©Michael C. Hebert)

“Stuff You Should Know”
Oct. 10
Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant’s award-winning podcast rolls into the Civic Theatre. www.civicnola.com

New Orleans Pelicans
Oct. 11
Zion Williamson, the NBA’s top draft, makes his NOLA debut in this preseason game with the Utah Jazz at the Smoothie King Center. www.smoothiekingcenter.com

Secret Gardens of the Vieux Carré
Oct. 12 & 13
Sneak a peek into rarely seen, private French Quarter courtyards on this self-guided walking tour. www.patioplanters.net/secret-gardens-tour

Japan Fest
Oct. 12
The Japanese Society of New Orleans’ annual cultural celebration at the New Orleans Museum of Art features drum and dance performances, tea ceremonies, Japanese cuisine, crafts and more. www.noma.org

Japan Fest New Orleans
Taiko drummers performing at Japan Fest. (©NOMA)

NOLA Mac ’n’ Cheese Festival
Oct. 12
Who will take home this year’s coveted blown-glass noodle award? Taste for yourself at Armstrong Park, where area eateries think outside the Kraft box. www.nolamacncheesefest.com

New Orleans Film Festival
Oct. 16-23
Celebrating its 30th year, this Academy-accredited competition offers more than 200 screenings. www.neworleansfilmfestival.org

New Orleans Film Festival 2019
A scene from “Last Call for the Bayou,” one of many features and documentaries screening during the New Orleans Film Festival. (©New Orleans Film Festival)

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
Oct. 16-Nov. 10
The innovative NOLA Project theater troupe brings the Headless Horseman to life in the outdoor sculpture garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art. www.noma.org

Dwight Yoakam
Oct. 17
Country comes to town at the Fillmore. www.fillmorenola.com

Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival
Oct. 18-20
Area blues musicians belt it out at Lafayette Square, while local restaurants dish up killer ’cue. www.jazzandheritage.org/blues-fest

Krewe of Boo Parade
Oct. 19
This family friendly, Halloween-themed parade rolls through the French Quarter beginning at 6:30 pm. www.kreweofboo.com

Krewe of Boo parade New Orleans
The Krewe of Boo Parade is preceded by a Zombie Run, and followed by the Monster Mash after-party. (©Shawn Fink)

Trinity Irish Dance Company
Oct. 19
The New Orleans Ballet Association kicks off its 50th season with the boundary-pushing, progressive dance company at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. www.nobadance.com

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
Oct. 25-27
Post Malone, Beck, Bradi Carlile and Guns ’n’ Roses headline this annual ritual in City Park, along with more than 60 other top-tier acts. www.voodoofestival.com

Voodoo Fest New Orleans
The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience turns 21 this year. (©Cambria Harkey Photography)

“The Color Purple”
Oct. 25-27
The traveling Broadway production of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winner returns to the Mahalia Jackson Theater. www.saengernola.com

Arts Market of New Orleans
Oct. 26
Looking for the next big thing? You’ll likely find it at the Arts Council of New Orleans’ monthly showcase of 80-plus area crafters at Palmer Park. www.artsneworleans.org

The Chainsmokers
Oct. 29
The EDM/pop duo pulls into the Smoothie King Center on their “World War Joy” tour. www.smoothiekingcenter.com

The Chainsmokers
The Chainsmokers are joined by 5 Seconds of Summer and Lennon Stella. (©The Chainsmokers)

“We Will Rock You”
Oct. 29
The long-running West End musical, featuring the music of Queen, rocks the Saenger Theatre. www.saengernola.com

Ancient Spirits
Oct. 31
Trick or treat? The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra classes up All Hallows Eve with a performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “The Isle of the Dead,” along with works by Edvard Grieg and Igor Stravinsky, at the Orpheum Theater. www.orpheumnola.com

Jim Monaghan’s Halloween Parade
Oct. 31
The freaks come out at night. Think Halloween is only for children? Think again. Catch this big-kid parade, which kicks off at 6 pm from 1107 Decatur St.

You’re sure to scare up a good time at Jim Monaghan’s Halloween Parade. (©Shawn Fink)