Columbus Parent | The Go-To Guide: 25 Ideas for Fall Family Fun

Celebrate all things harvest to Halloween, from farm festivals and pumpkin glows to things that go bump in the night.

Jim Fischer
A scene from the 2021 installment of Pumpkins Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

There are few things like fall in Central Ohio.

Families don’t have to travel far to get a taste—figuratively and literally—of the region’s rural history and the charm that goes with it. Many local farms open their doors to the public for fall festivals, and several local attractions offer special programming. Prefer to focus on the spooky side of the season? There are places for that, too.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate with your children or grandchildren, look no further. Columbus Parent has compiled a roundup of some of the most popular spots for fall fun. Many are low-cost or free.


Through Oct. 24

Freeman’s Farm

6142 Lewis Center Road, Galena;

Freeman’s, located in a once-rural, now-suburban part of Delaware County, offers a glimpse of farm life during its annual fall festival. Ride the hay wagon, shop the farm market, snack on fresh kettle corn and pick a pumpkin. Admission is free; there is a charge for some activities, which vary throughout the season.

Through Oct. 29

Leeds Farm

8738 State Route 36, Ostrander;

Fall fun takes many forms at this family farm, including hayrides, paintball, farm animals, zip lines and other themed activities. There are special events throughout the season, such as the popular Witches Night Out for women and a day set aside for visitors on the autism spectrum. Regular admission (sold online only) is $15-$20 for ages 3-54, $5 for ages 55 and older and free for ages 2 and younger. There is an additional charge for some activities.

Through Oct. 30

Hidden Creek Farms

581 S. Galena Road, Sunbury;

Catch a hayride to the pumpkin patch, meet farm animals, ride a pony and enjoy the pumpkin slide and straw maze at this working farm’s annual fall festival. Admission is $9, $5 for grandparents and free for children younger than 2. Some activities cost extra.

Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm

2920 State Route 203, Radnor;

Lehner’s offers a variety of family offerings each fall, such as corn mazes, a play barn, farm animals, paintball and rides of all kinds. There is also a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and a gift shop. Many activities are included in the base admission, which is $12 for ages 3-59 and free for everyone else. Activities are limited on weeknights, when admission is $6.

Boo at the Zoo

Lynd Fruit Farm

9399 Morse Road SW, Pataskala (corn maze is at 9851 Morse Road SW);

Lynd Fruit Farm will offer a Toga Corn Maze, where the $11 admission also includes other activities, such as a bounce house and barrel train. Timed tickets can be purchased online. Apple picking is available select days, and the market is open daily.

The Maize at Little Darby Creek

8657 Axe Handle Road, Milford Center;

The centerpiece of the annual activity schedule at the Maize at Little Darby Creek is a 9-acre corn maze. Other activities include a ball zone, a petting zoo, games and laser tag. Base admission is $13 in advance or $15 at the farm, $5.50/$9.50 for ages 55 and older and free for ages 2 and younger. Additional activities, including pumpkin picking and hayrides, are available. On Friday and Saturday nights in October, a “Field of Fright” boasts haunted happenings for older children and adults.

The Orchard & Co.

7255 U.S. Route 42, Plain City;

Apple picking is popular at The Orchard & Co., but the business also features a lineup of wagon rides, farm animals, pedal cars, zip lines and more. Admission (not required for apple picking) is $12, discounted to $5 for seniors and free for ages 2 and younger. Additional activities are available.

Through Oct. 31

Circle S Farms

9015 London Groveport Road, Grove City;

Fall Fun Days at Circle S includes corn and sunflower mazes, play barns, a petting zoo, hayrides and pumpkin picking. A market offers seasonal treats. Admission is $11 per person, free for children younger than 2.

Pigeon Roost Farm

4413 National Road SW, Hebron;

The farm’s Great Pumpkin Fun Center features the A-maize-ing Maze as well as activities including zip lines, slides, a hay wagon, games and a chance to see farm animals. Admission is $10, free for children younger than 2. Visitors also can check out the market and shop for pumpkins.


Through Oct. 30


Zoombezi Bay, 4850 Powell Road, Powell;

This fright-filled nighttime event geared for older kids and adults returns for a second year. Four haunted houses, two scare zones and other spooky surprises await. Select rides in the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Adventure Cove area will be operating. Admission is $28.99-$32.99. Parking is $10, free for zoo members.

Through Oct. 31

Trail of Scarecrows

Throughout Fairfield County;

Each year, Fairfield County businesses and residents create their own fall fun with a Trail of Scarecrows that residents and visitors can explore by car or on foot at their own pace. Follow the online trail map and vote for your favorites.

Candy by the Carload is an annual Powell tradition.

Oct. 2

Upper Arlington Fall Fest

Fancyburg Park, 3375 Kioka Ave., Upper Arlington;

Activities at this city event include pumpkin carving, dipping your own caramel apples, scarecrow making, a petting zoo, games, apple cider pressing and live music.

Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29

All Hallows’ Eve

Ohio Village, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus;

This beloved, family-friendly event evokes Victorian-era Halloween entertainment, with activities including a lighted pumpkin path, fortune telling, roaming characters, pumpkin carving and a retelling of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by a bonfire. Visitors also can witness a 19th-century masquerade party and visit a faux funeral parlor. Timed-entry tickets for the evening event are $18 for adults, $14 for ages 4-12 and free for ages 3 and younger.

Oct. 12-30

Pumpkins Aglow

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus;

This family-friendly evening event features hundreds of glowing jack-o’-lanterns, live entertainment and more. Stroll jack-o’-lantern-illuminated paths as you explore the pumpkin patch and two pumpkin houses. Decorations also include larger-than-life spiders, a foggy creek, and skeletons and ghosts hiding in the gardens. Admission is $25 for adults, $22 for seniors, $15 for children ages 3-12 and free for ages 2 and younger.

Oct. 11-13

Golden Bear Scare

Smith Nature Park, 1270 Fishinger Road, Upper Arlington;

This annual event is only very slightly spooky, and not very scary, recommended for children in grades 1-8, with a slightly spookier experience in the later hours geared for older kids. This trip through a “haunted” park, guided by a “Scare Ranger,” brings kids in touch with the outdoors at night. Visitors will encounter witches, a troll and zombies. Admission is free.

Oct. 14, 5, 21, 22

Haunted Statehouse Tours

Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus;

Haunted Statehouse Tours take visitors on a semi-spooky trip through the building’s darkened chambers and hallways to explore Ohio history. The event is recommended for ages 12 and older. Tickets are $13 for adults and $7 for children ages 12-17 and must be purchased in advance. Five tours are offered per day.

Oct. 14-16, 21-23, 28-30

Boo at the Zoo

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 Powell Road, Powell;

Boo at the Zoo takes a lighthearted approach to the spooky side of fall. This family-friendly event is suitable for little ones, with activities and animal adventures throughout the zoo grounds, including Tommy C. Turtle’s Trick or Treat Trail, character ambassadors, shows, a straw maze, giant pumpkin carving and more. Boo at the Zoo is included with standard admission. Costumes are encouraged but regulated.

Oct. 15-16

Dublin Halloween Spooktacular

Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road, Dublin;

Guests are invited to come in costume for all sorts of fall festivities throughout Coffman Park in this annual family event sponsored by the city of Dublin. Cool performances, a hay maze, the Trunk or Treat Trail, and more are all part of the fun. A block of time is reserved each day for sensory-friendly hours.

Oct. 19-22

Circleville Pumpkin Show

Downtown Circleville;

One of Ohio’s great fall traditions, the Circleville Pumpkin Show celebrates all things pumpkin, from entertainment to food. Don’t miss the winner of the biggest pumpkin contest—it’s typically the size of a small car. The festival, which dates to 1903, also includes rides, parades, pageants, live music and more. Admission is free.

Oct. 19-23

The Great Westerville Pumpkin Glow

Heritage Park, 60 N. Cleveland Ave., Westerville;

Thousands of jack-o’-lanterns create a trail that leads to pumpkin-themed sculptures and displays and a festival area with activities for adults and children, including axe throwing, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, bounce houses, live entertainment and more. Tickets for the after-dark event are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors age 60 and older and children ages 3-15, and free for ages 2 and younger.

Oct. 23

Candy by the Carload

Seldom Seen Park, 3240 Seldom Seen Road, Powell;

Powell businesses and organizations set up booths and car trunks to pass out candy and Halloween goodies to costumed children. The event is free but advance registration is required.

Oct. 23

Easton HOWLoween Pet Contest & Fall Festival

Easton Town Center, 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus;

Watch or participate in a costume contest for pets and participate in kids’ activities.

Oct. 23

Trick or Treat Trail

Gallant Woods Park, 2151 Buttermilk Hill Road, Delaware;

Children in costume can collect treats from characters along the “enchanted” nature trail at this free event. Visitors also can decorate a pumpkin, go on a hayride and view insects. Gallant Farm is also open during this event.

Oct. 27

KidX Candy Crawl

Polaris Fashion Place, 1500 Polaris Parkway, Columbus;

Polaris Fashion Place will host indoor trick-or-treating around stores in Center Court. The event also features activities such as games, an animal show and a costume contest. The event is free.

Oct. 27

Pickerington Haunted Village

Olde Pickerington Village, Center and Columbus streets;

This free annual family event features ghost tours, hayrides, stories and trick-or-treating at Olde Village businesses. A haunted museum, haunted house and roving storytellers are also part of the fun.

This is an extended version of The Go-To Guide from the Columbus Parent section in the September 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.