15 Can’t-Miss October Events in Northern Michigan (Haunted Tours, Fests, Wine, More!)

Haunted houses, color tours, cozy clothes and cool evenings. October is here and we’re loving everything it has to offer, including all these spooky, seasonal Northern Michigan events.

Food & Boo’s

The Hunt for the Reds | All Month Long

Goodbye chilled summer whites, hello full-bodied fall reds! This wonderful wine tasting event gives you the opportunity to enjoy the best of Northern Michigan reds all month long. Make your way through all 21 participating Leelanau wineries on your own time and enjoy a complimentary pour of red at each location. The best part—it’s only $10. Whether you’re a red wine lover or unsure if red is for you, now’s your chance to discover, taste and appreciate the diverse wines. If you’re not already convinced, know that $5 of your ticket price will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Farm-to-Table Dinner | October 12

Five courses, local ingredients and local beer all to be enjoyed while overlooking beautiful Deer Lake in Boyne Falls. This delectable dining experience includes braised pork belly with bourbon honey reduction, short ribs and rhubarb crumble just to name a few dishes. Hungry yet? Check out the full menu here.

Apple Festival | October 12–14

Experience the magic of autumn in Northern Michigan at the 40th annual Charlevoix Apple Festival. Join the festivities and support local farmers, orchards and non-profit organizations while celebrating the season with arts & craft shows, apple picking, farmers markets, food booths and lots of kids activities.

Truck-or-Treat Festival | October 26

Boos, brews, food, live music and dancing will make for a fun and spooky night at one of the most haunted locations in Traverse City. Head to The Village at Grand Traverse Commons for trick-or-treating and food trucks till 5 p.m. Enjoy Happy Hour from 3–6 p.m. with specials on food truck eats, beer, wine and cocktails. Your ticket includes admission and one drink of choice at the 21+ party starting at 8 p.m. Grab your friends and best costume, this is a Halloween party not to miss. (Admission is free from 3–8 p.m.)

Haunted Halloween Progressive Dinner | October 26

Head to Petoskey to experience its ghostly history with a progressive dinner throughout haunted downtown establishments. You’ll learn about the crying toddler, the employee who fell in love with a ghostly visitor, the mysterious fan, the woman in the wall and much more as you treat yourself to good eats.

Murder Mystery Party | October 29

Someone’s been murdered at the Speakeasy … are ready to find out who? Break out the fur and fedoras and travel back to the ’20s as you spend the evening solving crimes, enjoying hand-crafted cocktails, dinner and dessert. Explore the entire speakeasy, interact with other guests and tune into your crime-solving skills during this unique experience in Traverse City.

Halloween Happenings

Ghost Walk | October 9–10

Guaranteed to give you goosebumps, this unique adventure will take you through the history and mystery of ghost ships, lighthouses and more. Guided by Celtic storytellers, you’ll discover worldly stories and tales around Traverse City. An adventure not to miss.

Howl-O-Scream Haunted House | October 12–27

Face your fears at the 10th Annual Howl-O-Scream Haunted House in L’Anse. Teens and adults are welcome to wander through a maze of terrifying rooms and hallways with a scare at every turn. Bring a friend to hide behind—this one is sure to keep you up at night. All profits go directly to funding the Meadowbrook ice arena. (Don’t worry, the ice is only on in the backroom to chill the bodies.) 

Haunted Lighthouse | October 20–28

Take a spooky tour through the main floor of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse keeper’s quarters then venture down into the creepy basement and be prepared to be scared. Explore other areas of the lighthouse in Northport’s Leelanau State Park and climb the tower for a spectacular view of Lake Michigan. There will be games, activities and an outside treasure hunt for adults and kids. Costumes welcomed. For more information, click here.

Zombie Run | October 27

Zombies and beer, what’s not to like? The Zombie Run, a 5K run/walk, has become a Traverse City tradition. Right Brain Brewery will be hosting the event. Stick around after the race for the medal ceremony, best costumes prizes and a few other surprises as well. The good times and beer will be flowing. Who says you can’t drink before noon? You’re already dead anyway.

Fall Festivities

Fall Color Sail | October 13

Enjoy Michigan’s famous fall colors from the deck of the 77′ schooner Inland Seas as she sails around Suttons Bay. Fall is the most beloved season in Northern Michigan as temperatures are comfortable, traffic is light and the surrounding natural beauty is abundant. On this sail, participants may help the crew in raising the sails and steering the ship, or just sit back and relax while taking in the wonder our Great Lakes provide us. Find out more information here.

Northern Home & Cottage Home Tour | October 13

Stunning homes. Glorious vistas. Helping children through Child & Family Services. Tour 10 houses and cottages in Traverse City, Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsula curated by Northern Home & Cottage editors. Whether you’re looking for inspiration or just along for the ride, you’re sure to enjoy the beautiful work of the contractors, designers and homeowners.

Fall on the Island Festival | October 12–13

Two days of non-stop fun at one of the largest fall fests in the U.P. Drummond Island is packing it all in with food, craft beer, live music, artisan fairs, 5K/10K, golf tournaments and a Saturday night pub crawl. The Fall Fest Friday Night Opener is when they pull out all the stops and get the Big Tent hopping. More food and craft beer vendors will join the party on Saturday along with music, shows and tournaments. The fun doesn’t stop when 5 p.m. hits. Hop on the free buses to attend the bar crawl, complete with themed decor and wild costumes awaiting you at each bar. Be sure to get some rest on Sunday after all this excitement.

Fall Festival Weekends | October 13–28

Pond Hill Farm is bringing fun for the whole family every weekend in October. Pick out the perfect pumpkin, enjoy cider and donuts, shoot the giant squash rocket (highly recommend), feed the farm animals, indulge in wine and beer tasting, savor a lunch in the Garden Cafe, take a pic with the huge pumpkins, pumpkin bowl down the vineyard hill, feed the fish, shop the market full of local goodies, hayrides and playgrounds. Catch breath. Need I say more?

Owl Prowl | October 19–26

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the elusive owl? Grass River Natural Area is providing a learning experience and inside look at our local owls with an indoor presentation and a night hike to follow. Participants must be able to hike on uneven trails in the dark for about 1 mile/1 hour. Space is limited; pre-registration is required. Click here for more fall events at Grass River Natural Area.

Enjoy these October events in Northern Michigan and keep an eye out for my top picks in November. Cheers to Fall y’all! –Hannah

Find more Northern Michigan events in MyNorth’s calendar.