What to Do in Washington in October

Break out the cozy sweaters for a season of film fests and throwback festivals.

By Sophia Struna

A Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium resident gets his goth on.

After a long summer, fall is finally upon us. There's pumpkin patches and corn mazes, plus a slate of events that go beyond Halloween, like a 1990s grunge festival and a wild mushroom tour.

'90s Flannel Fest

October 7 & 8

 It still smells like teen spirit, even a couple of decades later. While the 1990s saw the rise of the quintessential Washingtonian flannel, the weekend-long '90s Flannel Fest in Moses Lake isn’t letting the style die anytime soon. Some 10 tribute bands, including groups dedicated to Nirvana and Alice in Chains, take the stage. 

Tri-Cities Water Lantern Festival

October 15 

The starry night sky has some competition in the Tri-Cities with a luminous spectacle on the water one night in Kennewick’s Columbia Park. With a focus on environmental responsibility, the provided lanterns are crafted of eco-friendly materials and will be cleaned up after the spell of lights floating over the water. There will also be food trucks and music before the decoration and departure of lanterns.

Zoo Boo

October 15 & 16 

Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium celebrates fall in a wild way. For two days, sights around the zoo may include elephants crushing pumpkins and a costume parade meandering throughout the exhibits. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in costumes and interact with the wildlife, and visitors can pick up an animal jack-o-lantern carving template.

Whidbey Wild Mushroom Tours

October 8–December 10

The intricacies and etymology of local wild mushrooms is the subject of these guided events in Langley, teaching participants to scavenge and explore Washington’s dense forest floor. With both public and private tours available, individuals will learn for up to an hour about distinct local fungi and the skills required for foraging before applying the knowledge in their own quest for toadstools.  

Wander Walla Walla Valley Wine Itinerary

October 1–December 11

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a winemaker is like? Well, several in Walla Walla have curated six varying, weekend-long itineraries designed to display everything from their favorite local businesses to how they kick it in wine country. Winemakers have also crafted a “choose-your-own-adventure” route to provide insight into what a day off from the grapevines might look like. 

Summit to Sea Filmfest

October 28–30 

Nature lovers and film buffs, this one's for you. Over the course of three days, Leavenworth’s Snowy Owl Theater will be home to dozens of films and varying programs with themes ranging anywhere from family-friendly to date night. The goal of the festival: bring awareness to conservation efforts through education and entertainment.

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