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Top 10 Things To Do in Lakeland + Polk County in October

October Top 10 Activities Lakeland FL

October is one of our readers’ favorite months (mine too!) and we love helping you find family-friendly events and activities to celebrate the fall season. Our calendar gets JAM PACKED in October with so many things to do in Lakeland – fall festivals, Trunk or Treats, and other Halloween themed events, so this is our Top 10 list to help you make sure the “can’t miss” events are on your calendar, including the ones that have nothing to do with pumpkins. If you enjoy one of these events, be sure to let the venue know that you heard about it from Lakeland Mom.

Don’t miss our Fall & Halloween Guide for a full list of Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches, Hayrides, Halloween costume stores, Trick-or-Treating safety tips, Haunted Houses and Zombies, Halloween Movies and TV Specials, Fall Festivals, Trunk or Treats, Halloween events in Lakeland, and so much more!

Please check directly with event organizers or local businesses for mask requirements, safety protocols, advance registration, and any last-minute changes. All information on our website is for informational purposes only – we are not qualified to provide health or safety recommendations.

Attend a special event

The events listed below are one day or one weekend only!

Bartow Chalk Walk – If you’ve never been to a Chalk Art event, trust us when we tell you the Bartow Chalk Walk is going to be amazing! 30 artists will make the sidewalks in Ft. Blount Park come alive with color, energy, vibrancy and a unique art form in this street painting festival. In addition to browsing the sidewalk art, this event will have music, food trucks, craft arts for the kiddos, trendy vendors and much more. The artwork will be a work in progress throughout the weekend with awards presented Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3, 2021
10am – 4pm daily | FREE

Fort Blount Park in Downtown Bartow

The annual Red Ribbon Kids Fun Run is Saturday, October 16, 2021 around picturesque Lake Mirror. It’s a fun family event and parents may run with their child in the family heats. This 1k race is FREE for K-8 students (t-shirt included!) and only $5 for parents.

2021sat16oct7:00 am11:30 amFeaturedRed Ribbon Kids' Fun Run7:00 am - 11:30 am Lake Mirror Promenade Event Organized By: InnerAct Alliance Event Category:Races, Walks, 5kPrice:Free

The Lakeland Swan Derby – a favorite annual event – has a new location this year! Head to Lake Crago on Friday, October 15, 2021 beginning at 5:30pm for a picnic style event. Including live entertainment from the Munn Park Saints, food trucks, Super Ticket drawings and of course all of your favorite swan boat races! This event is free and open to the public.

2021fri15oct5:30 pm9:30 pmThe Lakeland Swan Derby5:30 pm - 9:30 pm Lake Crago Outdoor Recreation Complex Event Organized By: Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine (LVIM) Event Category:Family Fun – Community EventsHoliday / Season:Spring FunPrice:Free


Based on the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, Esmeralda is the story of a beautiful gypsy girl who marries the poet Pierre Gringoire to save him from a certain death. Esmeralda makes it clear that it is a marriage of convenience only, for although she is sought after by three suitors, Esmeralda loves only one. A story of love, infatuation, and betrayal come together to form this stunning ballet. Learn more about Russian Ballet Orlando.

Saturday, October 16 @ 7:00 PM
The Polk Theatre in Lakeland

Esmeralda Russian Ballet Orlando 2021 Lakeland

Family Fundamentals – Free Classes for Ages 0-5

Family Fundamentals classes start on Monday, October 4! Family Fundamentals offer classes on a weekly basis for children from infants through age 5 where parents and children will learn and socialize as they participate in fun, stimulating, developmental activities! Family Fundamentals is a parent resource center and a project of Success By 6. These classes are FREE and a great opportunity to meet other moms and caregivers. Visit the link below to learn more and see this year’s schedule.

Go to an event in Downtown Winter Haven

Head to Downtown Winter Haven this month for family-friendly fun!

CommunityFest is Saturday, October 2 – this is a huge FREE family fun festival aimed at giving families a chance to enjoy a day-in-the-park with complimentary games and activities, and lots of family fun.

Oktoberfest is Friday, October 15 – Over 40 Florida Craft, local and German beers! Buy a tasting ticket for $25 and sample as many of the beers as you’d like!

After School Art at the Polk Museum of Art

After School Art at the Polk Museum of Art runs from September 27 – November 1. This is a program designed for children (ages 5 & up) and their parent to learn together. Lessons vary in medium and are designed to be adapted for use at home. Each class is an independent lesson. Registration is not required. Held on Mondays from 4:30pm – 5:30pm (doors open at 4:20pm). FREE for Members, $5 Non-Members per child per visit.

Check out the events in Downtown Lakeland

Head to Downtown Lakeland this month for family-friendly fun!

Click the name of any event for times and additional details.

Did you know you can also see all upcoming events in Downtown by using the Venue filter on our main calendar? Simply select Downtown Lakeland to see a list of upcoming events. We are thankful to have such a vibrant downtown! {This works for any venue OR organizer on our calendar}

Watch a Halloween Movie or see a Performance

Do you love Hocus Pocus? See it on the movie screen in the month of October! You can catch it at the Polk Theater on October 23 or enjoy an outdoor movie night at Festive Flicks on the Promenade on October 29 – plus others, there are at least 5 places to see Hocus Pocus near you!

With Love Productions Inc. (WLP) Performing Arts Festival: Down the Rabbit Hole features Tim Burton Characters in Munn Park on October 9.

Theater Winter Haven is also performing The Addams Family all month long!

Corn Mazes, Pumpkin Patches, + Fall Festivals

Local Corn Mazes, Farms, & weekend Fall Festivals are in full swing in October.

Harvest Holler Corn Maze is already open for the season, now through November 14 this year. If you’ve never been to Harvest Holler, it is a fall “must do.” Click here to read more and see photos from our visit.

You can find a full list of fall themed fun in our 2021 Fall + Halloween Guide.

Trunk or Treats and Halloween events

‘Tis the season for Trunk or Treats and Halloween events near you! With over 70 events in the “Fall & Halloween” category on our calendar, you should be able to find the perfect event(s) for your family – whether you’re looking for something on a specific date (select a date) or a specific location (filter by venue), our calendar makes it easy to find family fun.

Trick or Treating Lakeside Village Halloween Bash 2021 (1)

2021wed27oct5:00 pm7:00 pmFeaturedLakeside Village Halloween Bash5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Lakeside Village Event Organized By: Lakeside Village Event Category:Family Fun – Community EventsHoliday / Season:Fall + HalloweenPrice:Free

Creepy Crawly Fall Festival Camp Fire 2021

2021tue26oct6:00 pm8:00 pmCreepy Crawly Fall Festival at Camp Fire6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Camp Fire Sunshine Central Florida Event Organized By: Camp Fire Sunshine Central Florida Event Category:Family Fun – Community EventsHoliday / Season:Fall + HalloweenPrice:$5

Celebrate a Birthday

Do you celebrate any birthdays in October? I do! This is the #1 reason I love October – my birthday is on the 9th.

Our Birthday Party Guide and our list of Local Birthday Freebies in Lakeland & Polk County will get an update and refresh in October in honor of my big day and to help all of you moms looking to make your own birthday party plans with your family.

More Things to do near you in October

Play Indoors – While we wait for cooler weather to arrive, we still love our air-conditioned spaces! We’ve got lots of indoor things to do in Lakeland + Polk County including laser tag, arcade games, roller skating, ice skating, bowling, indoor trampoline parks, museums and more. Perfect for a rainy day, a hot day, or just any day you’re looking for something to do as a family. 

Go on an Outdoor Adventure – Hiking, water sports, biking, mini-golf, animal adventures, playgrounds – we’ve got it all right here close to home. If you want to spend more time outside in September, we can help you find things to do outdoors in Lakeland and Polk County.

Find Things to do with Kids – Check out our brand new ULTIMATE list of Things to Do with Kids in Lakeland and Polk County.

Happy October!

You can always find a full list of events on our Calendar, make Halloween plans with our Fall & Halloween Guide, use our Kids Eat Free Guide to save money, and check out our Guides to learn more about resources in the Lakeland area.