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Things to do in Alberta: October 2023

By Allison Bench

This fall, we’ve got you covered with some great events that celebrate the pumpkin, the spooky, the night skies and even something for the sports lovers. So, put on those flannel shirts and start celebrating the season in our province!

The return of the NHL and Battle Alberta

This October, hockey fans can look forward to their favourite teams heading back to the ice for the official kickoff of the 2023/2024 NHL season. The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames both play their first games of the season on Oct. 11; the Oilers will head to B.C. to face off against the Vancouver Canucks while the Flames will play host against the Winnipeg Jets.

And of course, one of the biggest thrills for our province during hockey season is the Battle of Alberta rivalry between the Flames and Oilers. Fans will have the opportunity to kick off that friendly spirit of competition with the special outdoor Heritage Classic game on Oct. 29 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The game marks only the 7th outdoor Heritage Classic game played in an NHL season and the first one to feature both of Alberta’s teams.

Sip from steins at Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest, Munich’s most famous beer festival, is celebrated worldwide from late September until early October. And in Alberta, there are still plenty of celebratory events happening to check out as the spooky season begins! Beaumont, near Edmonton, will play host to a family-friendly version of Oktoberfest including music, food, and brews for the adults on Saturday, Oct 7. Also near Edmonton, Sherwood Park’s German Language & Culture Association is putting on a special Oktoberfest dinner on Oct. 14 that includes a traditional German meal, including a pretzel and dessert.

For Calgarians, while the main Oktoberfest parties in the area are slotted for September, those looking for an activity in October can check out a special horse racing Oktoberfest Tournament at the Spruce Meadows Equi-Plex from Oct. 11 – 15.

And for something that’s truly unique, take a ride on an Oktoberfest Train on Oct. 14. Departing from the central-Alberta hamlet of Kelsey and traveling to the Village of Heisler, the train will take its attendees to a special dinner and dance that includes locally-made sausage and sauerkraut. So dust off your lederhosen and keep that Oktoberfest spirit going!

Smoky Lake Pumpkin Fair

Calling all pumpkin fanatics! Whether you’re a carving expert or you just love scarfing down some pumpkin desserts in the fall, the Smoky Lake Great White North Pumpkin Weigh-off & Fair should be on your ‘must visit’ list for the season. The event is famous for its massive pumpkin weigh-off and annual “pumpkin drop”—an impressive sight and crowd favourite that sees a huge pumpkin hoisted up by a crane and dropped onto a beater car on Oct. 7. This year, the family-friendly event has expanded into a four-day festival running from Thursday, Oct. 5 to Sunday, Oct. 8, with pumpkin-themed activities taking place across the weekend.

Get scared

October is, of course, the month featuring the year’s spookiest holiday: Halloween. And a tried-and-true tradition during Halloween is to get out there and test your nerves at a local haunted house. Volunteers and “fear engineers” across the province have been planning their events and creating their scariest costumes for months in anticipation of the season. Most haunted houses recommend that you be over 12 years old to attend—so keep your little ones at home for these events!

Calgarians can check out Haunted Calgary, a Halloween attraction that takes place at New Horizon Mall in Balzac. The Haunted Calgary theme for 2023 is “The Skeletons in our Closet,” which promises to be the darkest production yet from the haunted house collective. The show kicks off on Friday, Oct. 13 (because of the superstitious significance of that date) and then runs Thursday to Sunday through the first week of November. And if you’re a little cautious, the group also runs a “low scare” option during the afternoons on the weekend.

In Edmonton, Deadmonton Haunted House is a fan favourite that this year is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the area with three different haunted house experiences: Return of the Williams Farm, The Print Show, and The Convent. The Print Show is especially noteworthy as the story for that haunted walk-through takes advantage of the new location for the event, in the old Edmonton Sun building at 9300 47 Street NW. Your tickets to Deadmonton will give you access to all three attractions, unless of course you get too frightened to continue. Deadmonton runs Sept. 29 – Nov. 4.

These are just a few examples of horror events in our two biggest cities—many areas around the province plan their own haunted walk-throughs during the Halloween season, so check your local listings to see what’s happening in your corner.

Jasper Dark Sky Festival

Alberta’s beautiful scenery is world-famous, bringing visitors in from all over the world to our Rocky Mountain regions. And Jasper is also gaining widespread recognition for its incredible dark sky viewing experiences: Jasper National Park was declared a Dark Sky Preserve in 2011, due to the limited light pollution in the area that creates ideal starwatching conditions. The region has embraced that designation with the yearly Jasper Dark Sky Festival, taking place this year from Oct. 13 to 22 in the town. Weekends are when the main festival events take place, including Symphony Under the Stars, Indigenous Fireside Chats, Animals of the Night Hikes, and photography, telescope and planetarium experiences. So, head to the mountains and take in some of the natural wonder of the night sky.

The Taylor Phenomenon

Taylor Swift hype has been sweeping the world since the popstar launched The Eras Tour in stadiums all over. And while tickets have been extremely hard to come by—and pricey—this October, fans of all ages can head to the theatre to watch a larger-than-life presentation of the tour. Filming for Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour took place over three shows Swift performed in California and will hit movie theatres on Oct. 13. And remember, you can purchase movie ticket passes at your local AMA centre—members save on tickets for Landmark and Cineplex. Or, purchase a Cineplex Gift Card from AMA and earn 5% back in reward dollars.