From spooky outings to art festivals and more, here’s what to add to your calendar this month
1. Canyon Frights – Friday, October 13 to Tuesday, October 31
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is offering up pumpkin-filled family fun for the fall season. Enjoy wandering around the illuminated park with your family and friends, and get ready for some spooky surprises. A heads up that the owls of Raptors Ridge will be popping up in the park from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the weekends, and guests are welcome to dress up in costumes for this event.
3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver; Tickets from $20.95; Details online.
2. Vancouver Improv Festival – Tuesday, October 10 to Sunday, October 15
The Vancouver Improv Festival is celebrating its 25th annual run this year with an all-star cast. Ann Pornel from The Great Canadian Baking Show will be performing at both The Cultch in East Vancouver and the Tightrope Theatre on Main Street. Other than local shows, the festival will also be hosting improv shows from Portland, Oregon, like Wadsworth Constant and No Sex and The City. Workshops by improv performers are also happening on various dates. Be sure to check out the available shows and order tickets ahead of time.
Various locations; Tickets from $25; Details online.
3. Black Lagoon Cocktail Pop-Up – Wednesday, October 4 to Tuesday, October 31
The award-winning Halloween pop-up, Black Lagoon, is in Vancouver this month at The Butcher & Bullock. This cocktail experience crafted by Kelsey Ramage and Erin Hayes has gained popularity throughout Canada and the U.S. since its 2021 debut in Toronto, and has now spread to bars worldwide. Guests are encouraged to dress up in their spookiest outfits while sipping on the pop-up’s signature Book of Blood margarita. Have a fun girls' night out (or date night) as you embark on the ghoulish cocktail journey.
The Butcher & Bullock - 911 W Pender Street, Vancouver; Free entry; Details online.
4. Heart of the City Festival – Wednesday, October 25 to Sunday, November 5, 2023
For the 20th anniversary of the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival, organizers are hosting more than 100 events and showcasing more than 40 local venues both online and in person. Highlights of this year’s festival include Spontaneous Street Poetry, a responsive writing event led by poet and writer Gilles Cyrenne; Once Upon a Time in Chinatown, a musical performance that sheds light on Vancouver Chinatown’s pandemic experience; and We Live Here II, a large-scale outdoor projector installation that features DTES artists. Many other events and shows are a part of this twelve day festival—check out more details online.
Various locations; Prices vary; Details online.
5. Monster Jam – Friday, October 6 to Sunday, October 8
Get ready for a weekend full of adrenaline with this unscripted motorsports show featuring 12,000-pound monster trucks. World-class athletes gear up to perform backflips, show off their vertical two-wheel skills, and race at 70 mph around the arena. Besides the show itself, fans are able to attend the Monster Jam Pit Party, where you can see the large trucks up close and take pictures with your favourite drivers and crews. This event is family-friendly, so be sure to bring your kids along for the ride!
Pacific Coliseum at PNE - 2901 East Hastings Street, Vancouver; Tickets from $22; Details online.
6. New West Cultural Crawl – Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15
The New West Cultural Crawl is back for its 20th annual run, showcasing artwork from local artists and vendors. More than 150 artists will be participating across 32 venues this year. Engage with local artists at open studios and chat with them about their creative process, or participate in hands-on activities at interactive workshops. Amongst many other events, you can join a free ceramics class at Dana Keli Ceramics, or vibe with emerging musicians at The Gallery in Queen’s Park for an intimate concert.
Various locations; Free entry; Details online.
7. Harrison Pumpkin Festival – Friday, September 29 to Saturday, October 29
As fall's chill takes over from summer's heat, the Harrison Sunflower Festival also transitions into its autumn alter ego—the Harrison Pumpkin Festival. Running from Thursdays to Sundays, Onos Farms prepares more than 20 varieties of pumpkins for visitors to choose from. The festival runs on an all-you-can-carry format. Meaning you just pay the entrance fee and can proceed to take home as many pumpkins as you can haul out. Keep an eye out for photo ops around the pumpkin fields, as the organizers are also hosting an Instagram photo contest.
5039 Lougheed Highway, Agassiz; Tickets from $15; Details online.
8. Vancouver Outsider Arts Festival – Thursday, October 12 to Tuesday, October 17
This local arts festival is meant to promote artists who don’t quite fit into the mainstream art scene. This year marks the festival’s seventh annual run, and will offer its biggest program to date. Featuring 56 artists from Metro Vancouver’s diverse art community, visitors will get a glimpse of both visual and performative arts at the event. Attendees can also sign up for workshops hosted by local artists and get a chance to chat with the artists on-site about their experiences.
The Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre - 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver; Free entry; Details online.
9. Fright Nights – Friday, October 6 to Tuesday, October 31
This event is definitely not for the faint of heart! Fright Nights is back at Playland for the spookiest season of the year. Enjoy—if you dare—a night filled with screams, haunted houses, cobwebs and night rides. New for this year is The Void, a haunted cave where your job is to recover people who have gone missing. Will you oblige? Or will you add to the missing persons list? Grab a ticket to find out!
PNE Playland - 2901 E Hastings Street, Vancouver; Tickets from $30; Details online.