October’s not all ghouls and goblins! There are plenty of spook-free festivals, activities and events that will keep your children entertained all month long, from family-friendly Oktoberfest celebrations where they can polka their hearts out to theater performances that will keep them glued to their seats.
Latinx Heritage Festival at the Saint Louis Art Museum, October 6
As part of its globe-trotting Family Sunday series, the Saint Louis Art Museum, in partnership with Hispanic Festival Inc., will celebrate the history, culture and art of Latin America. During the free Latinx Heritage Festival, your family can dance along to musical performances, learn more about traditional crafts and create your own artwork inspired by SLAM’s art collection.
The Latinx Heritage Festival runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit slam.org.
Zootoberfest at the Saint Louis Zoo, October 5-6, 12-13
Oktoberfest is usually adults-only territory, but for two weekends in October, kids—and their favorite party animals—can get in on the fun! Throw on your Lederhosen, grab your stein and head to the Saint Louis Zoo for their annual German-inspired celebration. In addition to serving up Bavarian favorites like pretzels and brats, the Zoo will host a Biergarten featuring a variety of Oktoberfest beers for mom and dad as well as root beer for their little ones. Be sure to show off your skills at the crafts and games area and your polka moves at the live music stage.
Zootoberfest is free to attend and will take place each day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get all the details at stlzoo.org.
Zootoberfest at the Saint Louis Zoo
Family Fun Night: Explore Outer Space, October 11
Blast off for some out-of-this-world fun—no spacesuit required! Bring your crew to the St. Louis County Library Headquarters branch to join members of the St. Louis Astronomical Society for some interstellar-inspired activities and to learn more about the cosmos alongside other adventure lovers. Explore Outer Space is free for all ages, but registration is required.
Explore Outer Space goes from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit slcl.org.
South Grand Chalk Walk, October 12
For one day, the entire South Grand neighborhood will turn into an outdoor art gallery when professional artists and creative kids alike take to the streets with chalk in hand. Participants of any age can design their own chalk art to be entered into a competition for cash and prizes or simply add their sketch to the community mural in Ritz Park. Families are also welcome to check out the kids’ activities, listen to live music from local performers, watch art being created, or pop in to South Grand’s must-visit restaurants and shops.
Free to visitors, the South Grand Chalk Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more or to sign up for the competition, visit southgrand.org.
South Grand Chalk Walk
“The Girl Who Swallowed a Cactus” – Free Public Performances, October 12-13, November 9
On a day with nothing to do, Sheila and her friends are looking for a little excitement. When a walking, talking coyote shows up, he leads them on a magical adventure with twists and turns they could never have expected—all while helping them learn about the environment and their role in protecting it. Metro Theater Company first workshopped Eric Coble’s modern-day fairy tale at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2018 and this year is bringing it to St. Louis audiences with three free performances!
“The Girl Who Swallowed a Cactus” will be performed at 2 p.m. on October 12 and 13 at the Missouri History Museum and at 2 p.m. on November 9 at the St. Louis Public Library, Central Branch. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit metroplays.org for more details.
40 Years of Magic: A Birthday Celebration at The Magic House, October 13
Four decades ago, The Magic House opened its doors to give kids a hands-on museum all their own. Now those kids are bringing their own kids—and grandkids(!)—to explore the ever-growing exhibits and non-stop fun. You can celebrate 40 years of memories and magic by joining The Magic House for a birthday bash like no other! Enjoy face painting, juggling performances, a photo booth, and party activities before setting off to explore the Museum with your family.
40 Years of Magic is free with Museum admission. The party begins at 11 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. Learn more at magichouse.org.
Florissant Fall Festival, October 13
When it comes to community celebrations, the Florissant Fall Festival is one of most family-friendly, featuring endless fun for both kids and their parents. Little ones can saddle up for pony rides, climb up into a firetruck, decorate a pumpkin for Halloween, and cheer on the canines performing in the Fido’s Follies Dog Show. Their grown-ups can get their shopping on at the flea market and arts and crafts fair as well as treat their taste buds to the wine and cheese garden. And of course, no festival is complete without live entertainment throughout the day.
Held in historic old town Florissant, the festival will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Check out florissantoldtown.com for full details.
“Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963,” October 18-20, 25-27
On a quiet Sunday morning, one act of hate shook a nation to its core and marked a turning point in the civil rights movement. “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963” honors Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia D. Morris Wesley, and Addie Mae Collings who lost their lives in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church, shining a light on their dreams, their families and the challenges they faced in the segregated South. This moving performance directed by Jacqueline Thompson includes a full chorus who will perform spirituals and anthems of the Civil Rights Movement to accompany the girls’ stories.
Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963 is a production of COCA and The Black Rep.
Performances of “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963” will be presented at various times over the two weekends in the Staenberg Performance Lab at COCA. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at cocastl.org. Due to references to violent events and strong language, the show is recommended for children over age nine.
Main photo courtesy of The Magic House.