Plenty of pumpkins and a whole lot of Hot Browns can be found when visiting Louisville this October and Halloween season.
Fresh off of Bourbon Heritage Month, Louisville will still be buzzing come October. Old Louisville especially comes alive during this month with some of the neighborhood's most popular events. South Louisville will play home to thousands of pumpkins and hand-carved jack o' lanterns with both Kentucky Kingdom and Iroquois Park staying lit well into the night to celebrate the Halloween season.
St. James Court Art Show | September 30 - October 2 | FREE
First held in 1957, the St. James Court Art Show is a juried fine art and contemporary crafts festival that brings over 600 artists to Old Louisville every first full weekend in October. The show spans 4 square blocks and is set in a neighborhood boasting the country’s largest collection of Victorian-era homes, making it a dreamy destination to add to your fall bucket list.
Twilight Tour - Hayride and Lantern Walk | Wednesdays - Saturdays thru Nov. 5
Head to Hermitage Farm and climb aboard a tractor-pulled Hay wagon and grab a cup of boozy Bourbon Hot Cider (non-alcoholic available) for a relaxing tour of the farm's pastures, learning about the property's history intertwined with Kentucky, horse racing, and local folktales. Once the sun sets, visit the Barn6 Speakeasy to meet with resident retired racehorses Dubious Miss and Future Prospect. Afterward, follow your guide with a lantern in hand to experience the gardens and learn about the farm's conservation efforts and farm-to-table dining experience.
Pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom | Weekends in October
New for 2022, discover more than 1,000 illuminated pumpkins at Kentucky Kingdom amusement park. See towering pumpkin sculptures, some more than 12 feet high, expertly carved that light up the night with special effects and pops of color, in addition to family-friendly entertainment, special fall photo opportunities, trick-or-treating, and limited-time seasonal bites.
Located in the Norton Commons neighborhood, this one-day event will highlight chef creations from local restaurants, fine wines, and craft beer. Visitors will also have access to chef, mixology, and sommelier demonstrations at the event's Culinary Demonstration Stage. Be sure to get tickets ahead of time because tickets will likely sell out and will go up in price if purchased the day of the event.
Boo at the Zoo | October 1-30, Thursdays - Sundays
A tradition for over 40 years, Boo at the Zoo transforms the Louisville Zoo into a living storybook, complete with some of your favorite characters brought to life, fun music, and a safe place for trick-or-treating for kids 11 and under. Celebrate with an all-inclusive party experience designed to give all the kooky you love with less of the spooky. A Spooktacular Carousel, "not-so-itsy-bitsy" Spider House, and a Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow experience are all included with admission.
Bowman Fest | October 1 & 2
After having to delay the celebration since 2020, Bowman Field will finally get to celebrate its 100th anniversary in style with the return of Bowman Fest at historic Bowman Field Airport. The two-day festival will feature vintage aircraft from the 1920s through the 1960s, a 5k on the Runway, and a kids craft corner for the little ones.
Louisville Taco Festival | October 1 & 2
Returning to Fourth Street LIVE! for its fourth year, the Louisville Taco Festival features two days of tacos, nachos, margs, and access to over a dozen bars and restaurants. A general admission ticket ($10) gets you entry into the festival and a complimentary drink. Upgrade to VIP ($50) for early admission, four drink vouchers, five taco vouchers, and a swag bag. If you're looking to try your tacos a la carte, the festival works on a voucher system with each taco voucher costing $4 and sold in sheets of 5 for $20. Children 10 and under are free and do not need a ticket.
Louisville Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular | October 4-31
Fall favorite Jack O'Lantern Spectacular is back at Louisville Iroquois Park for another season of Halloween fun. Visitors can stroll along a 1/3-mile path to enjoy over 5,000 carved pumpkins illuminated every evening as a part of the nightly art show. This family-friendly Fall celebration is the perfect ending to a day of exploration and has become one of Louisville’s most popular October traditions.
Garvin Gates Blues Festival | October 8 | FREE
Set in Old Louisville this annual tradition is celebrating its 27th year of arts and blues music featuring national and local performers alike. In addition to continuous live entertainment from some of the best blues bands, the festival will feature an array of food and drink vendors. Garvin Gate Blues Festival is Louisville's largest free street music festival. You can find the full musical lineup on their website.
Urban Bourbon Half Marathon | October 8
Presented by Jim Beam® and routed through Louisville's historic Whiskey Row and scenic Cherokee Park, this experiential event celebrates the area's 200 years of distilling history. The half marathon features exclusive bourbon experiences and a post-race party that Runners’ World magazine heralded as one of the "Best Half Marathon After-Parties in the Country." You must be at least 21 or older to participate in the event.
Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live Glow Party | October 8-9
Head to the KFC Yum! Center to see real-life versions of the famous hot wheels monster truck toys as they spin, jump and crash into Louisville for this special glow-in-the-dark showing. The event will feature popular favorites like Mega Wrex™, Tiger Shark™, Boneshaker™, and Bigfoot®, as well as the high-flyers of Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live, Freestyle Motocross. Fans will experience exciting show action and fuel-injected playfulness with over-the-top smashing, crashing, and epic stunts.
The Big Stomp | October 14 & 15
Formerly Pete Fest, The Big Stomp is a two-day music festival located on a 90-acre private nature preserve in East Louisville. Bringing together musical genres from rock to bluegrass to electronica, the festival also offers activities, programming, and education in an effort to stomp out the stigma toward mental health.
Victorian Ghost Walk | October 14 - 16
Visit one of "America's most haunted neighborhoods" during this annual ghost tour in Old Louisville. Created by Louisville local and New York Times-reviewed author David Domine, this limited-time event will bring spirits to life with actors portraying the figures that allegedly roam some of the neighborhood's most haunted buildings. If you can't make it this weekend, Louisville Historic Tours offers nightly ghost tours through the Fall, but if you spot a ghost during those it may be the real thing.
Venardos Circus | October 19-30
Venardos' classic red-and-white striped circus tent will return to Waterfront Park this October with over a dozen shows to choose from. Founded by former Ringling Bros. Ringmaster Kevin Venardos, this new-age circus brings a modern-day twist to the classic tradition. Adults and children alike will enjoy trapeze artists, aerial stunts, dance numbers, jugglers, and more.
Hot Brown Showdown | October 23
Celebrating the official sandwich of the state of Kentucky, this new 2022 event will be held at Louisville's Waterfront Park and highlight local professional and amateur chefs and their spin on the iconic dish. The event will kick off the first-ever Louisville Hot Brown Week, which takes place October 23-30 and offers $9 Hot Browns or Hot Brown-inspired dishes at select restaurants. Use the Hot Brown Week app to be in the running for a free weekend stay at the iconic Brown Hotel.
Halloween Balloon Glow | October 27 & 28
The Halloween Balloon Glow at Lynn Family Stadium will feature hot air balloon trick-or-treating from 6-10 p.m. Ten hot air balloons will be on-site, with two offering tethered rides for an additional fee. Costumes are encouraged, and candy bags will be provided to trick-or-treat at each balloon and other stations throughout the property. Attendees can enjoy a family fun zone with inflatables, music, performances, vendors, seasonal food, and refreshments. Tickets for the Halloween Balloon Glow are $15 per person; kids ages two and under are free.
Halloween Parade & Festival | October 29
Held at the newly redeveloped Paristown district, this day-long event will be the highlight of this year's six-week Ultimate Halloween Fest. The Festival will take place along Broadway and in the Paristown entertainment district from 12pm-9pm, with a parade starting at 6 pm. There will be live music from the Blues Brothers, Soul Circus, Freddy & The Cruegers, and The Crashers along with fun contests including a Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest and Pumpkin Derby. Festival goers can enjoy the Family Fun Zone with assorted inflatables and amusements, a Party Zone, a variety of street vendors, and food from the Village Market and The Café.
Spirit Ball: A Victorian Masquerade | October 29
Built in 1895 and boasting 10,000 square feet, the Victorian-era Conrad-Caldwell House Museum will be the place to be this All Hallow's Eve Eve. Revelers will dine on gourmet appetizers, indulge in expertly mixed cocktails at the open bar, have their fortunes revealed with a one-card draw of the Tarot deck, bourbon tasting by Four Roses Bourbon, and music by DJ S.Y.I.M.O.N.E. The Conrad-Caldwell House is located in Old Louisville, a neighborhood that is said to boast the largest collection of Victorian-Era mansions in the country as well as being one of the country's most haunted.