Austin’s best fall activities

Here in Austin, we might not have the most seasonal fall in the world, but we still have a lot of fun autumn activities in town or nearby to make up for it. From family-friendly festivals to scary haunted houses, should you and your family or friends ever find yourselves with nothing to do on a beautiful fall weekend, try one of the following ideas.

Scream Hollow Wicked Halloween Park (Sept. 15 to Dec. 23)

149 Split Rail, Smithville, TX 78957

This haunted house park in Smithville is not for the faint of heart. Fans of House of Torment will no doubt love this event, voted the number one haunted house in the nation by Lionsgate. The park has four frightening haunted houses, a restaurant, live music and movie showings. It’s open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7 to 11 p.m. or midnight, but be sure to check the website before going — private events are occasionally scheduled, and the general admission times can vary by an hour or so.

Barton Hill Farms (Sept. 29 to Nov. 4)

1115 FM 969, Bastrop, TX 78602

There are more than 30 family-friendly activities at this farm in Bastrop County, available Saturdays (from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Sundays (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). A $15.95 entrance fee will give you access to fun attractions such as a pumpkin patch, farm animals, a corn maze, a pumpkin pie eating contest on Nov. 3 and 4, and live music while enjoying delicious treats at concession stands. Act quickly to take advantage of the online pre-season sale, which reduces entrance fees to $11.95.

Movies in the Park (Oct. 25)

601 E 3rd St, Austin, TX 78701

Shortly before Halloween, the timely and iconic movie Practical Magic will be shown in Palm Park at 7:15 p.m. Admission is free, but bring a blanket and come hungry, as there will be plenty of concessions and food trucks available. There doesn’t seem like a better way to enjoy the witchy escapades of the Owens sisters than outside on a dark fall night.

Elgin Hogeye Festival (Oct. 27)

This day-long festival in historic downtown Elgin has proven itself to be a don’t-miss event for a long time — it’s celebrating its 31st anniversary this year! The festival is free from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and boasts live music and entertainment on three stages, a dessert contest, food vendors and concessions, a car show and more. If that doesn’t sound like a great way to spend a fall day, then what does?

Texas Book Festival (Oct. 27-28)

The Texas Book Festival, located in Austin’s downtown capital, is always a good time. The free event, open to the public, is celebrating its 29th year! Book lovers can expect to enjoy a diverse lineup of authors, book signings, panels, live music and food trucks. If you enjoy reading, or just want to experience a fun outing downtown, this is an event you won’t want to miss.