Allison Lento | Staff Writer
Fall has finally graced us with its presence in the form of cold weather. At least for now, fingers crossed. This can only mean one of two things: go into our hermit hole of blankets, sweatshirts and hot beverages OR do all the wonderful fall and spooky activities the season brings. Let’s go with the latter!
1. Haunted Museum After Dark: Year of the Zombie (Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Oakland, PA)
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is known for being one of largest museums in the country. What might not be as well known, however, is the events it holds after the sun goes down. Bear in mind, this is a 21+ event because alcohol is served, so it won’t be accessible to all. However, it is a good event to keep on the radar for the future. The party theme for this Halloween season is zombies! Guests are strongly encouraged to come dressed as zombies and to trick-or-treat around the museum for prizes, while being able to see the “real zombies” from the natural history part of the museum. The party does not stop here, because visitors will also be able to see Night of the Living Dead on the museum’s big screen to celebrate its 50th anniversary, as well as be able to join a dance party to live music provided by a DJ! General admission price for this event is $15 and $13.50 for members. This event is one night only on Oct. 26 starting at 6 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m.
2. Hometown Homegrown Food Expo (Heinz History Center)
No one can think about fall without thinking about food, and this event is perfect for all the fall cravings. This expo takes place at the Heinz History Center, which will be hosting over 40 food vendors for guests to try all sorts of delicious samples. Better yet, Pittsburgh chefs will be doing live cooking demonstrations including cake decorating and French toast recipies that will get any foodie excited. Be sure to check Goodtastepittsburgh.com for the times of the demonstrations that spark your interest. Along with the demonstrations, there will be pumpkin carving, live music and games to enjoy, as well as all sorts of food items and cookbooks up for purchase. Students with a school ID can get in for $9, and it is free for Heinz History Center members. This event is taking place on Oct. 20 and goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. so be sure to go hungry and ready to try all sorts of delicious treats!
3. Trax Farm (Finleyville PA)
Trax Farms is located in the South Hills and is about a 30 minute drive from downtown Pittsburgh. Celebrating its 49th Annual Fall Festival this year, Trax is the perfect place to have a nice fall day over the weekend. A special activity that takes place at Trax during this time of the year is the hayride that goes up to the pumpkin patch for a prime pumpkin picking experience. Additionally, the hayride goes to a huge corn maze that is incredibly fun to get lost in. Trax will also host food trucks and live music as a part of their festival that switch with each visit. Be sure to check Traxfarms.com in order to see what will be available on the day you decide to go! The farm also is home to an extensive, beyond popular market which sells all of the seasonal goodies you are hoping for: fresh apple cider, all things cinnamon and phenomenal baked goods. The festival happens on the weekends and runs until Oct. 28. The price for adults is $10, but be sure to bring a little extra cash to buy your pumpkin.
4. Soergel Orchards (Wexford, PA)
Pumpkin picking is always on everyone’s minds for fall, but apple picking is another fun fall staple, and Soergel Orchards is just the place to do it! Soergel’s Fall Festival weekends are here and filled will all sorts of activities. They have hayrides and tractor rides, the aforementioned apple and pumpkin picking, games, music, face painting, and some amish made donuts and BBQ from the food barn to tie it all together. This orchard is located 18 minutes out of downtown in Wexford, PA, and is open both this coming weekend, Oct. 20 to 21 and the following weekend, Oct. 27 and 28, starting at 11 a.m. and going until 5 p.m. both days. And the best part is of all? It is FREE! Be sure to call ahead or go to Soergels.com to see what apples are available to pick yourself and which ones are available for purchase!
5. Hundred Acres Manor (Bethel Park, PA)
Fall means it is time to get spooky, and Hundred Acres Manor is an excellent place to go to start off the Halloween season. As mentioned by Hauntworld magazine, Hundred Acres Manor is the “flat out best haunted house in Pittsburgh PA” and has also been mentioned to be one of the best in America by other publications such as Forbes and USA Today. This attraction leads each willing participant through a series of different rooms that are decked out in wonderfully terrifying decor and themes. The actors are, of course, ready to scare any person when they least expect it. The haunted house brings some new activities to the table this season, such as their escape rooms and buried alive simulator. Hundred Acres Manor, a 25 minute drive from downtown Pittsburgh, is definitely the activity to bring a group of friends tp on a Friday or Saturday night (and have them go first). The general admission price is $20 for the house, $25 for the escape room and $7 for the burial simulator. So head on down, get in line and be prepared to start getting scared as soon as you get there!
6. Monster Pumpkin Festival (North Shore, PA)
There are so many activities wrapped into this event it is hard to even know where to begin! The Monster Pumpkin Festival takes place right in Pittsburgh on the North Shore, and the best part about this one is it is FREE to attend. At the Monster Pumpkin Festival, attendees will be able to see people race in gigantic, hollowed out pumpkins down the Allegheny River. Anyone interested can like and repost a photo on the Monster Pumpkin Festival Facebook page in order to have a chance to actually participate in the race! Other activities at this festival include looking at huge pumpkin carvings, the pumpkin drop, as well as a pumpkin pie eating contest on Sunday. The pumpkin drop, which drops a 2,000 pound pumpkin from a crane, is actually an event for charity and also comes with the chance of winning some prizes! The festival takes place on Oct. 20 and 21, and some of the events vary depending on the day, so be sure to check out Monsterpumpkin.com for timing details. Both days, however, include vendors with food, drinks and crafts as well as a free pumpkin giveaway which is perfect for any fall lover. Keep in mind that the pumpkin race itself will only be happening on Saturday, but the boats that will be in the race will be decorated and painted on display for those who attend the festival on Sunday. All these events and more will be taking place along the North Side Riverwalk and, as mentioned earlier, are completely free to attend!
7. The Manor Theater Midnight Horror Movie Fest (Squirrel Hill, PA)
Who doesn’t love a good movie night? Especially when it is Halloween season, and there are so many to choose from. Located 13 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill’s Manor Theater is hosting midnight horror movie showings every Saturday night in October! Coming up on Oct. 20, it will be showing The Shining starting at 11:59 p.m. and the following Saturday on Oct. 27, the theater will be rightfully showing Halloween just in time for the wonderful holiday falling on the following Wednesday. Tickets are $9.75 for adults. Put on some cozy clothes and get spooked by some classics!