Spooky Season: Fall festivities in Pittsburgh

Paige Dzwonchyk | staff photographer. Fall-themed events are beginning to pop up all over the Pittsburgh area.

Duke Staff

Oct. 7, 2021

October is here — and that means the spooky season is creeping up on Pittsburgh. 

Here’s a round-up of some of the best places to enjoy fall in the Pittsburgh area.

For fall colors, check out Schenley Park right in the heart of Pittsburgh. Schenley Park has 456 acres to sit out with your friends and enjoy what fall in western Pennsylvania has to offer. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry, leaves in Allegheny County are “starting to change.” The counties surrounding Allegheny County are also in the “starting to change” phase, according to the state bureau of forestry.

Another great place to take in the scenery is McConnell’s Mill State Park. Located about 40 minutes north of the city, McConnell’s Mill has tons to offer visitors this fall. Hike through miles of hilly terrain or enjoy the last of the sunny days on a large boulder along the riverbed. This park is free to enter, has gorgeous picnic spots and the rural drive there is just another great way to see the fall colors. 

Soergel’s Orchards in Wexford is everything you could ask for in a fall festival. The orchard offers a pumpkin patch and apple picking — perfect for those classic fall Instagram pictures. Apple picking at Soergel’s is available weekdays from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Pumpkin picking at Soergel’s is available weekdays from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

It’s the Monster Pumpkin Festival, Charlie Brown! Pittsburgh’s Monster Pumpkin Festival will take place in the Strip District Oct. 16 and 17. Events include a horse-drawn carriage ride, a pumpkin splash and pumpkin paintings and designs. 

You can also get your scare on at ScareHouse, a Pittsburgh haunted house located at the PIttsburgh Mills in Tarentum. ScareHouse is open through weekends in October. 

If that wasn’t scary enough, take a trip out to a Pittsburgh classic Kennywood, just in time for the Phantom Fall Fest. Throughout the entire month of October, Kennywood will be open for extended afternoon and evening hours to give visitors a chance to experience their new fall festival. This festival features over 30 rides and attractions, “bone-chilling haunts,” and after-dark scare zones. Tickets start at $35 and are available on Kennywood’s website.   

Pour yourself a glass of fresh local cider. Pittsburgh is home to two booming local cider houses — Threadbare on the North Shore and Arsenal Cider House in Lawrenceville. 

Both feature hard cider (for those of age) and nonalcoholic cider for those looking for a refreshing seasonal drink. 

And if you want to stay on campus, the Duquesne Ballroom Association is hosting a Ballroom Halloween Lesson and Social event Thursday, Oct. 28 from 7 – 9 p.m. in the Union Ballroom. 

Tired of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte? Check out some of Pittsburgh’s locally owned coffee shops to get a fresh taste of the season. Rock ‘n’ Joe Coffee on Penn Avenue is offering a pumpkin pie latte and hot apple cider this spooky season. Their fall menu also includes a variety of cool weather treats. Be sure to ask for their pumpkin loaf, and if you’re looking to feel extra cozy, ask the barista to warm it up for you. Other great coffee shops include the Allegheny Tea and Coffee Exchange in the Strip District, home to some of the best flavored coffee in the area; Gasoline Street Coffee on Second Ave., offering pumpkin shortbread bars and iced pumpkin spice lattes; Commonplace Coffee in Squirrel Hill and the North Shore boasts a slew of fall flavors including brown sugar cardamom, maple orange spice, orange spiced mocha and autumn spice.