When the weather starts to turn cool and the leaves change color residents of Central Texas can find fall festivals full of hayrides, corn mazes, music and more. This is a guide to family-friendly fall festivals in the area, all within a short drive of Round Rock, Pflugerville or Hutto.
15 Through 20, 22-27, 29-31, Nov. 1-3, 5-8
Harvest the Fall Fun: Sweet Berry Farms hosts this event with a variety of fall-themed games and events. Children and adults can partake in stuffing a scarecrow, hayrides, the Texas Hayfield Maze for age 6 and older, eat homemade ice cream including a pumpkin pie flavor. The Pumpkin Grille serves lunch on weekend days. Pets are not allowed at the event. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Mon.-Tue., Thu.-Sat.), 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sun.). Free (admission), $2-$16.50 (per event within festival). Sweet Berry Farm, 1801 FM 1980, Marble Falls. www.sweetberryfarm.com
Abacus School of Austin’s Annual Fall Festival: The school’s Leander location hosts an event that includes bounce houses, face painting, games, photo booths, a silent auction, snacks and train rides. Guests are invited to come dressed in costume and participate in a family costume contest. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free admission (snacks cost extra). Abacus School of Austin Crystal Falls Campus, 1720 S. Bagdad Road, Leander. 512-806-7788. www.abacusschoolofaustin.com. [email protected]
17 and 18, 24-25, 31, Nov. 1, 7-8
The Fall Festival & Great Pumpkin Maze at Barton Hill Farms: A custom, 5-acre corn maze is among the main attractions at this annual festival, organized by Bastrop-based Barton Hill Farms. The festival theme is based on the “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” television special. Other activities include a flashlight maze, country and bluegrass performed live every day, a pumpkin patch, pumpkin painting and kayaking on the Colorado River as well as food and beverages, including barbecue, meat pies, sausage wraps, desserts, kettle corn, and beer and wine. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (Sat.), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sun. and Columbus Day). $7-$15 ($1 discounts available online). Barton Hill Farms, 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. www.bartonhillfarms.com
17 and 18
Elgin CHRISTmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Festival[/caption]
Elgin CHRISTmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Festival: The 13th annual pumpkin festival kicks off during the second weekend of October. Attendees can take part in pumpkin painting, listen to bluegrass music, and eat Elgin sausage and baked goods. Hayrides, mazes and pumpkin painting are included with the price of admission. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Oct. 10 and 17), noon-5:30 p.m. (Oct. 11 and 18). $6 (children ages 2-12), $8 (age 13 and older). Elgin CHRISTmas Tree Farm, 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. 512-281-5016.
Dia de los Muertos Festival[/caption]
Dia de los Muertos Festival: The event is a nod to Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday in which family and friends who have died are remembered. The festival features live music, performances and art. Food and beverages are available. Proceeds from the festival benefit Easter Seals Central Texas. Noon-10 p.m. Free (children age 12 and younger when an adult ticket is purchased), $15 (presale general admission), $100 (VIP). Fiesta Gardens West End, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St., Austin. 512-615-6800.
YMCA Fall Festival: The sixth annual festival includes about 50 acres of family-friendly activities, including free offerings such as bounce houses, pony and train rides as well as a children’s carnival with games. Guests can also purchase tickets for other activities, such as bungee-jumping, a 60-foot climbing tower, a haunted house, an obstacle course, hay rides, paintball and a zip line. The event includes at least a dozen varieties of concessions. 2-9 p.m. (festival); 3, 5 and 7 p.m. (costume contests). Free (some children’s activities), $8 (advance ticket), $10 (at gate). YMCA Camp Twin Lakes, 204 E. Little Elm Trail, Cedar Park. 512-250-9622. www.ymcagwc.org/event/fall-fest
17 and 24
Fall Fun Festival: The Leander Fire Department hosts the fifth annual event with business vendors, games, live music, concessions, a haunted house and a silent auction. Proceeds benefit the department’s charity funds as well as health and safety. 5:30-10 p.m. Free admission, $0.50 (game ticket), $5 (The Tower haunted house admission). Leander Fire Department administration building, 101 E. Sonny Drive, Leander. 512-528-2886. www.leandertx.gov/fire. [email protected]
The Great Pumpkin Festival: Saint Richard’s Episcopal Church hosts the annual fall festival, which features a pumpkin patch, live music, carnival games, pony rides and a petting zoo. Mobile vendors provide food at the event. Musical acts The Lost and Nameless Orchestra and Paul Van perform. 2:30-6:30 p.m. Free. Saint Richard’s Episcopal Church, 1420 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock. 512-255-5436. www.saintrichards.org
23 Through 25
Pecan Fest 2015: This Seguin festival kicks off with ghost tours at the Magnolia Hotel and Mosheim Mansion. The next day’s events include a beer and wine garden, live music, dancing, food booths, more than 80 arts and crafts booths, pecan-based baked goods and a pumpkin-decorating contest. A pecan pie contest and Tour de Pecan Bike Ride take place at Power Plant Texas Grill on the Guadalupe River, where attendees can also go tubing. Day three features riverside cemetery tours, and actors play the part of eight prominent Seguin citizens. Evening (Oct. 23), 9 a.m.-midnight (Oct. 24), 1:30-3:30 p.m. (Oct. 25). Free (some activities), cost TBD (cemetary tours). Locations vary. 800-580-7322. www.seguingonuts.com
The Round Rock Parks and Recreation Free Fall Fun Festival 2015: The “Monster Mash”-themed festival features carnival games, hayrides, cookies and punch, and storytime. Guests are encouraged to bring a canned item for the Round Rock Area Serving Center. 9-11:30 a.m. Free. Old Settlers Park, 3300 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock. 512-218-3220 or 512-218-5540. www.roundrockrecreation.com
Farmshare Austin Harvest Festival and Farmer Olympics: Local food, family-friendly activities, live music and an olympic event are among the festivities at the farm’s annual harvest festival. Farmshare Austin, a nonprofit organization, aims to improve food security in the community by preserving farmland, training farmers and increasing access to organic food. An egg toss and wheelbarrow race are among the games in which guests can participate on the 3-acre farm. Pets are not allowed at the event. Noon-4 p.m. Free. Farmshare Austin, 3608 River Road, Cedar Creek. 512-337-2211.
HAUNTED HOUSES & HALLOWEEN FUN
For residents looking for a scare or thrill, the area offers haunted houses and other Halloween-themed events. Call ahead for questions about which houses and events are appropriate for which ages.
15 Through 31, Nov. 1, 6-7, 13-14
House of Torment: Touted as Austin’s largest haunted house, House of Torment is akin to walking through a horror movie set with animatronic monsters, cinematic scenes, special effects and makeup. The haunted house features two stories of frights and three attraction themes. In its 13th year, House of Torment is offering $13 ticket specials for a limited time. 7:30-11 p.m. (Oct. 8, 14-15, 18-22, 25-28, Nov. 1), 7 p.m.-midnight (Oct. 9-11, 16-17, 23-24, 29-31, Nov. 6-7, 13-14). $24.99-$28.99. House of Torment, 523 E. Highland Mall Blvd., Austin.
16 and 17, 23-24, 30-31
Austin Zombie Hunt: Outlaw Paintball in Pflugerville organizes a trailer ride to the park where a zombie infestation has taken hold. Participants, who tend to be age 6 and older, shoot at the zombies with a paintball gun as they try to attack the trailer. Each ride lasts about 30 minutes and can fit 17 people. 8 p.m.-midnight. $25 (one ride and 100 glow-in-the-dark rounds). Outlaw Paintball, 824 Grand Avenue Parkway, Pflugerville. 512-252-1664 www.outlawpaintballfield.com
16 and 17, 22-24, 29-31
SCARE for a CURE presents: Dread Asylum: Austin nonprofit SCARE for a CURE produces the haunted house held in Manor. A crew of special-effects artists, set builders, technicians, costume designers, makeup artists and actors work year-round alongside volunteers to design costumes, build the set and write the script, which this year revolves around an insane asylum. The tour entails running, climbing, crawling and dodging at times. Guest safety is overseen by professionals. $40. 14219 Littig Road, Manor. www.scareforacure.org
16 and 18, 23-25, 30-31 Nov. 1
Scream Hollow Wicked Halloween Park[/caption]
Scream Hollow Wicked Halloween Park: Three haunted houses sprawl across 14 buildings in the forest of Lost Pines. A steampunk stage with live music, a cafe and bakery, and a bar are among the other attractions at Scream Hollow Wicked Halloween Park. The event is for age 12 and older. 7 p.m.-midnight (Fri.-Sat.), 7-11 p.m. (Sun). $5-$25. Scream Hollow Wicked Halloween Park, 149 Split Rail Lane, Smithville. 512-710-8267. www.screamhollow.com
F.E.A.R. Paranormal Society presentation: Lydia Berestecky and Rachel Sosa of F.E.A.R. Paranormal Society Austin show paranormal investigation equipment, retell ghost stories and answer questions. 7-8 p.m. Free. Cedar Park Public Library, 550 Discovery Blvd., Cedar Park. 512-401-5000. www.cedarparktexas.gov/library
Trunk-or-Treat: The fourth annual event is hosted by the Leander Police Department and allows children to experience an alternative to collecting candy door-to-door. Volunteers are invited to bring featured vehicles, such as classic and rare cars, and dress in costumes to distribute candy to children. Emergency vehicles are available on-site for children to tour, and the department offers snacks and games as well as a costume contest and raffles. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. Gateway to Leander Shopping Center (lot between Kohl’s and Lowe’s), 1495 S. US 183, Leander.
512-528-2821. www.leandertx.gov/police. [email protected]