This post covers things to do in New Orleans during the month of October, including free, nighttime, as well as family-friendly activities, all updated for 2022. 


This is our list of the 10 most interesting and entertaining attractions and events in New Orleans during the month of October. 

For tips on the most popular activities in New Orleans, check out our popular posts:

Many of these items are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.

1. Attend a Live Concert/Performance

Thanks to the rich history of music in New Orleans, you can usually count on at least a few great concerts every month.

October is no exception, as there are a few notable bands and musicians performing.

Here are a few of the more popular concerts/performances happening this month: 

For more concerts, check our post about finding live music in New Orleans.

You can find all major events and concerts here.

2. Go to a Sporting Event

At this point in the year, the football season is in full swing and there are at least a few games to see every month.

New Orleans is home to the Saints, and they will be playing three home games in October:

This is a very popular team, so you may want to purchase tickets well ahead of time.

If collage sports are of interest, the Tulane Green Wave also play in October.

October is also the month when professional basketball returns to the city as the New Orleans Pelicans begin their journey for the 2022-2023 season.

For a chance to see one of the brightest young stars take the court, make sure to check the Pelicans schedule/get tickets as soon as possible.

Check out all the events and sports available this month.

3. Take a Ghost Tour

New Orleans is often referred to as one of the most haunted cities in the United States.

With Halloween just around the corner, this is a perfect time to take one of our spooky walking tours.

Most of these tours are pay-what-you-wish, and they are all offered several times per week.

Reservations will be required, so make sure to secure your spot in one of the following tours ahead of time to avoid missing out.

TIP: If you’re interested in learning more about vampires and other creepy subjects, make sure to read our full post about haunted tours in New Orleans.

If you're looking for more Halloween-themed activities or things to do in the evenings, check out our things to do at night section.

4. See a Theatrical Production

Theatre is back in New Orleans this fall, and some of the first theatrical productions will be taking place at the Saenger Theatre this October.

Two productions, both based on Hollywood movies, are coming to town:

You can find all shows and events in New Orleans here.

If you're looking for and event kids might enjoy, Blue's Clues & You! Live On Stage will be taking place on October 29th at the Mahalia Jackson Theatre for the Performing Arts. We also have additional family-friendly options below. 

5. See Famous Comedians Perform Stand-Up

Some big names in comedy will be making appearances in New Orleans in October.

There will undoubtedly be several other opportunities to enjoy some live stand-up in NOLA.

Check this list of comedy shows in and around New Orleans to see who will be performing this month.

6. Enjoy Halloween in the Garden District

If you’re looking for a great neighborhood to go trick-or-treating or enjoy some of the best decorations in New Orleans, the Garden District is an absolute must.

Even before the 31st, many homes will begin decorating for the holiday with a lot of spooky ornamentation. This is one of the best ways to take part in the festivities of Halloween and it’s entirely free!

Visitors who want to learn more about this area may want to consider taking our Garden District walking tour .

This trip includes a visit to the Lafayette Cemetery, the perfect addition to this creepy time of year.

You can also use our GPS-enabled audio tour of the neighborhood if you’d rather enjoy a self-guided outing. For more affordable activity ideas, check out the free things to do section below.

7. Celebrate Oktoberfest in NOLA

Oktoberfest takes place over three weekends, giving visitors more than one opportunity to enjoy the event.

In addition to serving over 20 different types of German beer and a variety of schnapps, you will also have access to a variety of excellent German food including brats, sauerkraut, schnitzel, pork loin, pretzels, and a selection of cheeses.

There's also a lot of wonderful music and dancing during this festival, a German costume contest, nd an historical exhibit providing information about history of Oktoberfest.

The great food and music could make this a fantastic family-friendly outing. Speaking of which, the prices for kids aren’t bad, either!

  • Tickets: $10 | Kids aged 11 and under get in free
  • October 7th -8th
  • October 14th - 15th
  • October 21th - 22nd
  • Fridays: 4PM - 11PM
  • Saturdays: 1PM - 11PM

Learn more about Oktoberfest.

This is a fantastic activity you can enjoy after dark. If you’re looking for even more fun when the sun goes down, make sure to check our section on things to do at night in New Orleans.

8. Go to the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival

New Orleans loves to party, so it’s no surprise that there are so many festivals taking place in October.

The 15th Annual Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival takes place from October 14th - 16th, 2022.

As the name of this festival implies, you can also expect a lot of fantastic barbecue and blues and jazz music.

There's also an art market, food vendors with options for folks who don't eat meat, and music merchandize for sale.

  • Location: Lafayette Square Park
  • Admission: Free
  • Friday: start time 5:30 PM
  • Saturday: start time 11:00 AM
  • Sunday: start time 11:00 AM

With live music and great food, this is definitely one of the best family events taking place this month.

If you’re looking for even more great ideas, make sure to read our section about things to do with kids in New Orleans.

Even if you miss the festival, you can still find great tunes by checking our post about live music in New Orleans. We also have more free events listed in our things to do for free section.

9. Celebrate National Gumbo Day

According to many locals, New Orleans is the only place you can even get a good Gumbo. If that’s the case, it makes perfect sense to honor this national holiday while visiting.

National Gumbo Day takes place on October 12th in 2022, which makes this the perfect time to celebrate one of the most delicious dishes ever concocted.

This popular Cajun dish typically includes shellfish, chicken, sausage, or even shrimp along with many delicious spices and veggies like okra and tomatoes.

Check our post about where to find the best Gumbo for more details or test some out on our pay-what-you-like French Quarter Food Tour.

10. Save Money With a New Orleans Tourist Pass

A New Orleans tourist attraction pass can help you save a lot of cash on admission to several notable locations.

While some passes will give you unlimited access to dozens of activities for a specific amount of time, others allow you to pay one flat price for a set number of attractions.

No matter which option you choose, these services can help you save 50% or more on tickets – and they usually include skip-the-line access at some sites!

Here are a few of the more popular attractions included with these passes:

If you want to learn more about these services, make sure to read our full post covering New Orleans tourist attraction passes

Attend Tremé Fall Festival

Hosted by the St. Augustine Catholic Church, this Tremé Fall Festival celebrates the thriving culture of the Tremé neighborhood.

Activities take place at the church from 11AM to 7PM on October 22nd, 2022.

During Tremé Fall Fest, local businesses and artists provide free musical performances and a variety of delicious food.

There will also be children’s activities such as painting and building projects, making this an excellent family activity.

TIP: Want to learn more about this wonderful neighborhood? Check out our post with many additional activities and attractions in the Tremé.


Even if you’re working with a budget, there are many fun and free activities you can enjoy this month.

This section will provide a few different ideas for interesting things you can do in New Orleans during October without paying a dime.

Also, check out our master post of free things to do in New Orleans for more budget-friendly ideas.

Go on a Free Swamp Tour

Many visitors to New Orleans will take advantage of at least one well-reviewed airboat and swamp boat tours offered in the area.

These tours have a price, but there are also free options to explore the area’s swamps and wildlife.

If it’s a particularly nice day outside, you may want to consider heading down to the Barataria Preserve.

This area is located on the southern end of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, and it is entirely free to visit.

In addition to a visitor center and an environmental education complex, there are also several hiking trails in the area where you can see a lot of incredible wildlife.

You can also take a self-guided tour or a cellphone tour of this nature preserve.

Attend the Krewe of Boo

Parades are a relatively common appearance in New Orleans, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that there is also a Halloween parade.

Celebrating its 12th anniversary, the Krewe of Boo will make its way through the French Quarter on October 22nd, 2022.

This event will include floats created by artists at Kern studios (that’s Mardi Gras World), the creative minds behind a lot of the parade floats that you see during Mardi Gras.

During the parade, volunteers will be throwing fun treats out to the crowds including plush toys, snacks, t-shirts and more. If you become a member, you can actually ride on one of the floats!

In addition to being entirely free to attend, the Krewe of Boo will also take place after dark and it’s a great family-friendly activity.

There's also a 9AM Zombie Run on the 22nd, and a Halloween parade afterparty in the Warehouse District

Go to a Free Live Jazz Performance

If you're looking for some great live music to enjoy,  visit the New Orleans Jazz Museum. Every Tuesday, this museum offers a live musical performance on the 3rd floor for free.

If you can’t get enough jazz, head to the Ritz-Carlton from Wednesday - Saturday for a free performance from Jeremy Davenport.

TIP: If you’re looking for more free concerts, check our post about finding live music in New Orleans .

Experience a Free Art Fair

Magazine Street is home to several wonderful businesses and art galleries, and you’ll have an opportunity to visit many of these locations for free during the Art for Art’s Sake event this October.

Every fall, this art fair celebrates local artists with live music, wine, gallery openings, shopping, and more.

Art for Art’s Sake won’t cost a dime to attend, but some activities will not be free, so you may want to bring spending money.

Hop from one art gallery to the next and enjoy some of the most interesting artwork in the city without worrying about your budget!

  • Date: October 6th, 2022
  • Time: 6PM - 9M
  • Location: Arts/Warehouse/Convention District

This art fair takes place in the evening, which means it’s an excellent night time activity. For more fun things to do after dark, make sure to read our things to do at night section.

Attend Gentilly Fest

With so many festivals taking place in New Orleans this October, Gentilly Fest can, unfortunately, get lost in the shuffle, but it’s still a fun event and one that’s free to attend!

This festival is all about celebrating New Orleans culture with live music, delicious food, arts & crafts and a lot of family-friendly activities.

Gentilly Fest will even have a Kids’ Village with pony rides, a kids stage, a fire truck, face painting, playground, pottery making, gardening crafts and more.

Proceeds from the festival support New Orleans police, firefighters, EMS, children’s music camps and other local organizations that need help.

  • Location: Pontchartrain Park Playground
  • Dates: October 8th and 9th, 2022
  • Hours: 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM

NOTE: Even though this event is free to attend, you may want to bring some money for food and other items.


Even after the sun goes down, there’s still plenty to see and do in New Orleans.

The following section will provide a few activities and events that you can attend at night in October.

For even more ideas for any time of the year, check out our master post on things to do at night in NOLA.

Take a French Quarter Ghost Tour

This is also included in our top 10 list, but it’s worth pointing out that our ghost tour operates on a pay-what-you-like or can afford model.

During this walking tour, we’ll cover a variety of locations such as Pirate Alley, Hotel Monteleone, and many other notable sites in the French Quarter.

We will discuss topics ranging from yellow fever to modern true crime stories, revealing some of the most haunted tales in New Orleans.

Check our ghost tours post for more information on this nightly trip as well as many other ghost tours available in the city.

Attend City Park Halloween Events

In honor of Halloween, City Park will be hosting a few interesting fundraising events this October at Corousel Gardens.

Ghosts in the Oaks

This event is family-friendly and features a pumpkin patch, hot-dog roasting, arts & crafts and trick-or-treating.

  • Dates: October 20th-23rd, 2022
  • Time depends on ticket purchased
  • General Admission Ticket: $25.00
  • Early Admission Ticket: $30.00
  • Friends of City Park Ticket: $22.00
  • Children under 36 months admitted free

Brews and Boos

This event for adults (age 21+) features access to the amusment park, a costume contest, a DJ, and unlimted beer.

Guests will have the opportunity to sample a variety of craft beer and there will be several treats available which are included with admission.

  • Dates: October 28th & 29th, 2022
  • Time: 9:00 to midnight
  • General Admission Ticket: $35.00
  • VIP Ticket: $60.00
  • VIP tickets include a full open bar, seating, and special treats.

Go to the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

New Orleans has a pretty deep connection to the world of voodoo, so it’s not too surprising that they hold a music festival in honor of this culture on the weekend closest to Halloween every year with the Voodoo Music +Arts Experience.

The musical lineup is usually very impressive, with several notable artists performing including well-known bands.

In addition to the tunes, there will also be plenty of great food to eat, interesting art to see, and plenty of entertainment during the whole weekend.

  • Dates: Their website says the festival is being paused in 2022 so check back in 2023!
  • 1-Day Tickets: $75 - $800
  • 3-Day Tickets: $140 - $1,300

NOTE: If you’re interested in this culture, you may want to consider taking our pay-what-you-wish voodoo tour.

Celebrate Halloween and Fundraise for a Great Cuase

Halloween New Orleans, now in its 39th year, celebrates the LGBTQ community with three different shows.

This year's theme is "Wonderland" and events include:

  • The Queen's Ball and Silent Auction | Ogden Museum of Southern Art
  • Nightmare in Wonderland | The Filmore New Orelans
  • Mad Hatters Tea Dance | New Orleans Jazz Museum

Tickets range from $80.00 to $425.00, and provide access to one or all events.

Proceeds benefit Project Lazarus, an assisted-living home for those with HIV/AIDS in New Orleans.

Have a Sleepover at a Plantation

Oak Alley is one of the oldest locations in Louisiana, so it probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that it is also reportedly one of the most haunted sites near New Orleans. 

If you want an opportunity to potentially experience this haunting for yourself, consider booking a room at the plantation.

They offer several overnight cottages so that you can spend the night on the property. This could be a great spooky activity for anyone interested in ghosts and the supernatural.

Check the Oak Alley Plantation Restaurant and Inn for more details or to book a room.

TIP: If you’re interested in visiting this plantation, but you don’t want to stay the night, consider getting a New Orleans Pass. This discount pass includes admission to Oak Alley.


If you’re looking for something fun to do with the family, October is a great month for a variety of kid-friendly events in New Orleans.

This section will provide a few ideas for activities that families can enjoy together. 

Be sure to also read our master post on things to do with kids in NOLA for even more family-friendly ideas or check out the highlights video.

Take the Kids to Boo at the Zoo

Whether you’re looking for a safe place to take your children trick-or-treating or you just want to have some Halloween fun with the family, Boo at the Zoo is an event you won’t want to miss.

This annual activity is designed for kids 12 and under, giving them the opportunity to dress up and get on a ghost train or go through a haunted house.

Additionally, there will also be a variety of games and entertainment for young audiences. Everything except the concessions are free with admission.

Although this activity has not been confirmed for October 2022, there are indications that they will be bringing Boo at the Zoo back this year. Unfortunately, they do not have any dates yet.

TIP: Tickets to Audubon Zoo are included with the New Orleans Sightseeing Pass . If you want to learn more about this attraction, read our post on the Audubon Zoo .

Attend the NOLA Mac n’ Cheese Fest

Macaroni and Cheese may be one of the most popular meals in America, and it’s certainly a favorite among kids. If you or anyone in your family enjoys this dish, consider heading to the Mac n’ Cheese Fest in Louis Armstrong Park.

As the name implies, this festival is a celebration of all things mac n’ cheese. A variety of vendors will be on hand to provide samples and snacks which often take a different approach to this tasty treat.

Additionally, judges will be on hand to vote on the best macaroni and cheese dish and hand out awards. You can also expect live music, games, and other festivities throughout this event.

  • Date: The 4th Annual Mac n' Cheese Fest will be returning in 2023 after a three year break.
  • Hours: 11 am – 6 pm
  • Location: Louis Armstrong Park
  • Click here for more details

Watch the Zombie Run

If you’re planning to attend the Krewe of Boo on October 22nd, you might want to dress up ahead of time and head to the New Orleans Zombie Run first. 

Even if you don’t take part in the race, this can be a really fun event to watch!

During this activity, the Big Easy Rollergirls chase down zombies and stop them from attacking any of the onlookers in quarantine zones.

Although you must pay to register for the race, you are free to watch along the sidelines without paying a dime.

Smell the Flowers at the Fall Garden Festival

Anyone with an interest in gardening will want to check out the Fall Garden Festival at the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park.

While there will be a lot of plants and flowers both on display and for sale, families can also expect a children’s activities area with music, arts & crafts and educational programs. 

To sweeten the (flower) pot, kids under 5 actually get into this festival for free!

  • Dates: October 8th & 9th, 2022
  • Tickets: $10/Adults | $5/Children (Ages 5-12)
  • Children under age 4 get in free
  • Friends of City Park members get in free
  • Click here for more details.

TIP: There are a lot of fun things to do in this park with your family. Whether you miss this event or you just want more to do while you’re in the area, make sure to check out our post on City Park to learn more about attractions like Storyland, Carousel Gardens and City Putt.


About The Author


Sarah first moved to New Orleans in 2001 to work for the American Red Cross of Southeast Louisiana. While working in the communities of New Orleans she fell in love with the unique culture of the Big Easy; it's food, music, architecture, wildlife, and most of all history. Sarah began her career with FTBF, first as a guide, then as an owner/operator. She believes every day is a good day if she gets to impart her love of her beloved New Orleans with Free Tours By Foot guests. She especially likes to convert new Who Dat Saints Fans!
Updated: marzo 16th, 2023
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