It’s fall — finally! Are you ready for some crisp fall air? Are the leaves starting to turn near you? Our October calendar features plenty of pumpkins and Halloween-inspired activities, plus history, music, a performance by the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Chanticleer, and a celebration of Dia de Los Muertos. Of course, it’s also time for the Pumpkin Train and trick-or-treating. This list offers a wide variety of things to do in Allegan, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties. This list includes options for everyone, regardless of age, ability, or interest. 

Week 1 (Oct. 1–8)

‘Black Eden: Idlewild Past, Present and Future’
Holland Museum, 31 W. 10th St., Holland
Through Monday, Oct. 23, Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission
The exhibit will showcase the history of Idlewild “from its vibrant eras of bustling tourism to its remarkable journey of revival and rejuvenation. Founded in 1912 as a haven for African Americans, Idlewild provided respite, leisure, recreation, and community that drew in many middle-class professionals from the Midwest for several decades.” Co-curated with DEI consultant Chris (C.J.) Kingdom Grier, who was born and raised in Idlewild and is the current Yates Township/Idlewild historian and archivist. 
Details: https://hollandmuseum.org/black-eden-idlewild-past-present-and-future/

Banned Books Challenge
Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave., Grand Haven
Oct. 1–31 during library hours
Cost: Free
The American Library Association celebrates the right to read every year with Banned Books Week. This year’s theme is “Let Freedom Read,” and Loutit District Library is celebrating all month long. In addition to an educational exhibit on the library’s upper level, displays of frequently challenged or banned books are featured throughout the library during October. Reread your favorite or discover the dangerous power of reading with a new title. Earn 250 points and two activity badges to win a Banned Books magnet, your choice of one of our exclusive Loutit Banned Books prizes, and an automatic entry into our Banned Books Grand Prize drawing.
Details: https://bit.ly/ldlbannedbooks2023

Pumpkin Train
Coopersville & Marne Railway, 306 Main St., Coopersville
Oct. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29
Cost: $20–$65
Always a hit with both children and adults, the Pumpkin Train sells out quickly, so get your tickets early. The Famous Pumpkin and goofy sidekicks will entertain riders with their crazy antics, and each child may choose a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch at the end of the ride. Riders are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes for extra fun.
Details: https://mitrain.net/train-rides/pumpkin-train/

Harvest Stand Ministries Fall Banquet
Foundry Church, 425 100th Ave., Zeeland
Tuesday, Oct. 3, 6 p.m.
Cost: Free (reservations required)
Harvest Stand Ministries invites the public as it marks another year of providing food, clothing, and community resource connections to those in need. The banquet will include a catered dinner, a silent auction, a message from the Rev. Jim Liske, and a ministry update from Harvest Stand Ministries Executive Director Jordan Palladino. To reserve your spot, call Kimberlee at 616-741-8250, Ext. 6, or email [email protected].
Details: harveststandministries.org

Bueller — Live at the Park Theatre
Park Theatre, 248 S. River Ave., Holland
Friday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.)
Cost: $20 in advance, $25 day of show, $50 VIP Red Leather Seat (limited), $100 Table Upgrade (limited)
Nashville’s premier ’80s tribute band heads to Holland for one 18-and-older (or with adult supervision) show. These professional musicians present a tribute to the very best in ’80s music, from synthesizer-led Flock of Seagulls and Van Halen to classic metal of Poison and Def Leppard.
Details: https://parktheatreholland.ludus.com/show_page.php?show_id=200439055

Encounter the Arts
Central Park Place,421 Columbus St., Grand Haven
Saturday, Oct. 7, 2-9 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
You’re invited to celebrate the city’s vibrant arts community through a full afternoon of family-friendly workshops and performances. A special kids-only craft area will be featured, as well as a cocktail reception and the Manhattan Short Film Festival.
Details: https://centralparkplacegh.org/encounter-the-arts/

‘Young Frankenstein’ — Holland Community Theatre
Holland Civic Theatre, 50 W. Ninth St., Holland
Oct. 5-7, 13-14, 19-21, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 15, 2 p.m.
Cost: $15–$22
“It’s alive!” The electrifying adaptation of Mel Brooks’ monstrously funny film will leave you in stitches. Grandson of the infamous Victor Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced “Fronk-en-steen”) inherits his family’s estate in Transylvania. With the help of a hunchbacked sidekick and a leggy lab assistant, Frederick finds himself in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestors. Hilarity abounds. 
Details: https://www.thehollandcommunitytheatre.org/current

Fuelfed Car Show
Downtown Douglas, Center Street
Saturday, Oct. 7, 9-11 a.m.
Cost: Free to attend
The car club with more than 1,100 members — discerning collectors and enthusiasts of classic European cars — will show off their best and brightest. See what the frenzy is all about. 
Details: https://www.saugatuck.com/fuelfed-car-show-1-1/

Buster Keaton Film Show
Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Saturday, Oct. 7, 7:30-10 p.m.
Cost: $10
The International Buster Keaton Society hosts an evening of Buster Keaton films, including the centenary showing of the actor’s first independent feature, “Three Ages,” with live accompaniment.
Details: https://frauenthal.org/event/buster-keaton-film-show-2023/

Week 2 (Oct. 9–15)

History of Holland Academy, Early Hope College, and Western University
Pillar Church, 57 E. 10th St., Holland
Monday, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
The Holland Area Historical Society (HAHS) will host the presentation on early academic institutions in Holland. The Rev. Dr. Dennis Voskuil will explore the history of these institutions through photographs and stories. Get additional information concerning the HAHS and its other upcoming programs by emailing [email protected] or going to its Facebook page.
Details: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063661266620

Early Hope College is one of the topics of an Oct. 9 Holland Area Historical Society presentation on the early academic institutions in Holland.

Family Fun Night — Smashing Pumpkins
Muskegon Museum of History and Science, 430 W. Clay Ave., Muskegon
Friday, Oct. 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free for Muskegon County residents, $5 for nonresidents
Join museum staff in painting a pumpkin, pumpkin-themed activities, and flinging pumpkins at the museum using a trebuchet (to maximize the smashing). This annual event will also include a pumpkin-carving contest.
Details: https://lakeshoremuseum.org/friday-family-fun-night-smashing-pumpkins-5/

White Lake Area Pumpkinfest
Downtown Montague
Saturday, Oct. 14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
This family-friendly event features many pumpkin-inspired events, contests, and features. These include an artisan market, a farmers’ market, a bake sale, a pumpkin pie contest, pumpkin chucking, hayrides, the pumpkin freestyle roll (beginning at 11 a.m.), and many more. 
Details: https://www.whitelake.org/event/pumpkinfest-2023/

 
Art in Douglas Fall Gallery Stroll
23 Center St., Douglas
Saturday, Oct. 14, noon-5 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
Visit six fine art galleries on Center Street in Douglas and celebrate the season with fine art displays, refreshments, and goodies.
Details: https://www.saugatuck.com/art-in-douglas-fall-gallery-stroll/

City of the Dead
Evergreen Cemetery, 391 Irwin Ave., Muskegon
Saturday, Oct. 14, 5-8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 15, 2-4 p.m.
Cost: $5 adults, free for children 6 and younger
This annual, family-friendly immersive theater event features actors portraying figures from Muskegon history. The stories of these prominent and not-so-prominent figures are shared at their burial sites. 
Details: https://harboruu.org/interests/city-of-the-dead/

Chow Down Centertown
7 N. Seventh St., Grand Haven
Saturday, Oct. 14, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend
This third annual event, in collaboration with Grand Haven Main Street and the Centertown district, will feature 100+ local makers, at least 12 food trucks, and six bands. Come out and join the fun.
Details: https://visitgrandhaven.com/chow-down-centertown/

Week  3 (Oct. 16-22)

Virtual History Program
Presentation by Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
Wednesday, Oct. 18, 7–8 p.m.
Cost: Free (registration required)
Explore emigrants’ journey preparations, immigrant restrictions, journey length, ticket cost, major ports of departure and arrival, ship accommodations, and arrival in America in “European Experiences of the 19th and 20th Century Voyagers to America, a presentation by genealogist and researcher Katherine Wilson. A Zoom link for the presentation will be sent out on the day of the event.
Details: ​​https://herrickdl.bibliocommons.com/64d4f13901da5e2900396ac8

Papermaking with Wild Plants
Saugatuck Center for the Arts, 400 Culver St., Saugatuck
Thursday, Oct. 19, 6–8 p.m.
Cost: $45
Create artisanal paper while making an impact on the local environment. Join exhibition artist Jane Kramer in a lesson on creating rag paper out of invasive plant species in Michigan. All skill levels are welcome.
Details: https://sc4a.org/papermaking-with-wild-plants/

Bee’Kaé Harris with Ben Brown: Soul Sessions
Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Friday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Cost: $20
Bee’Kaé Harris and Ben Brown bring inspiration from Soul, Motown, and R&B to their “Soul Sessions,” featuring timeless music of artists ranging from Al Green and The Temptations to Blackstreet and The Weeknd.
Details: https://frauenthal.org/beekae-harris-with-ben-brown-soul-sessions/

Bee’Kae Harris will perform with Ben Brown for two Oct. 20 shows — Soul Sessions — at the Frauenthal Center in Muskegon.

Ox-Bow Goes to Heck Family Day
Ox-Bow Campus, 3435 Rupprecht Way, Saugatuck
Saturday, Oct. 21
Cost: Free to attend
Come out to enjoy a day of family-friendly frights, games, crafts, tricks, and treats. All ages are welcome.
Details: https://www.saugatuck.com/ox-bow-goes-to-heck-family-day/

Ox-Bow Goes to Heck Family Day on Oct. 21 offers a day of frights, games, crafts, tricks, and treats.

Week 4 (Oct. 23–31)

Many local communities are having public events in addition to trick-or-treating hours.

It’s time to get your costumes on and grab a pumpkin pail, a bucket, or a pillowcase. Some communities are hosting public events, but most residential trick-or-treating will take place on Halloween, Tuesday, Oct. 31  Be safe out there!

Trick-or-treat
Here’s a list of some public trick-or-treat and other events slated in West Michigan communities:
 

  • Douglas — Halloween parade for adults, come in costume; lineup starts at 9 a.m. in front of the Old School House on Center Street; the parade starts at 10 a.m.  (Residential trick-or-treating will take place at dusk on Halloween Tuesday, Oct. 31.)
  • Holland — Trick-or-treating, downtown, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28. (Residential trick-or-treating will take place at dusk on Halloween, Tuesday, Oct. 31.)
  • Grand Haven — Downtown trick-or-treating, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28. (Residential trick-or-treating will take place at dusk on Halloween Tuesday, Oct. 31.)
  • Muskegon — Trunk-or-treat, Muskegon County Fairgrounds, 6621 Heights Ravenna Road, 6-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25. (Residential trick-or-treating will take place at dusk on Halloween Tuesday, Oct. 31.)
  • Saugatuck — Fall festival and trick-or-treat, downtown Saugatuck businesses, Oct. 28. (Residential trick-or-treating will take place at dusk on Halloween Tuesday, Oct. 31.)

Chanticleer — Holland Chorale
St. Francis de Sales Church, 171 W. 13th St., Holland
Monday, Oct. 23, 7–9 p.m.
Cost: $20–$40
Holland Chorale will open the program, then the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble will take the stage. After that, the chorale and Chanticleer will sing a combined piece that was recently commissioned for the group and never previously performed. 
Details: hollandchorale.org

Harvest Fest Fundraiser
Culinary Institute of Michigan, Baker College, 336 W. Clay Ave., Muskegon
Thursday, Oct 26, 5-9 p.m.
Cost: $75 (must be purchased in advance)
This inaugural fundraising event, featuring fall culinary delights, has been organized by the Muskegon Rotary Foundation with proceeds benefiting Read Muskegon and other charitable causes. Tickets to the event will include gourmet foods, one beverage ticket, and a signature Harvest Fest glass. The festival will also feature live music, a cash bar, and a 50/50 raffle. 
Details: https://muskegonrotary.org/page/harvest-fest

Harvest Fest, set for Oct. 26, is a fundraiser with proceeds benefiting Read Muskegon and others. The event will include gourmet foods, live music, a cash bar, a 50/50 raffle, and more.

Learn How Electronics Work
Holland District Library North Branch, 155 Riley St., Holland
Thursday, Oct. 26, 6-7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free (Registration is required)
In the second of three sessions, Understanding Modern Electronics: Transistors as Amplifiers, participants will discover how transistors can be used to increase the voltage, current, or power of an electronic signal while faithfully reproducing the signal’s time variation. All registrants younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 
Details: https://herrickdl.bibliocommons.com/events/64d4ea8b01da5e2900396a5e

Hope Great Performance Series — Escher String Quartet
Jack H. Miller Center, 221 Columbia Ave., Holland
Thursday, Oct. 26, 7:30-10 p.m.
Cost: $28
Acclaimed for its profound musical insight and rare tonal beauty, the quartet has performed throughout the world. The performance at Hope will feature works by Mendelssohn, Janacek, and a full performance of Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden.”
Details: https://calendar.hope.edu/event/escher_string_quartet

Fall Festival — Bones About Town
Washington Avenue, Grand Haven
Saturday, Oct. 28, all day
Cost: Free to attend
The event features fun activities, including a “Thriller” dance and downtown trick-or-treating. Also on tap is the announcement of winners for the Bones About Town competition. Join the fun. Venture downtown to see the spooky skeletons.   
Details: https://visitgrandhaven.com/fall-festival-downtown-trick-or-treating/

Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Holland Armory, 16 W. Ninth St., Holland
Saturday, Oct. 28, noon-3 p.m.
Cost: Free
This annual Mexican holiday finds family and friends coming together to celebrate death and life. Join the Holland Museum and Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP) for an afternoon of music, dance, and art activities. 
Details: https://www.holland.org/events/dia-de-los-muertos-or-day-dead

A celebration of Dia de Los Muertos is slated for Oct. 28 at the Holland Armory, featuring music, dance, art activities, and more.

Boo’s Cruise
Star of Saugatuck, 716 Water St., Saugatuck
Saturday, Oct. 28, 5 p.m.
Cost: $60
This 90-minute cruise, for 21 and older only, will feature drink specials, a costume contest, and a few tricks and treats, as well.
Details: https://saugatuckboatcruises.com/halloween/

Need suggestions for specific destinations or activities? Check out these tourism resources for details:
Holland Area Visitors Bureau
Grand Haven CVB
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation
Saugatuck CVB
Allegan County Parks & Recreation

 

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