With shorter days and cooler temperatures, fall undoubtedly brings about a chill in the air on Cape Cod. It’s not just tied to the weather; it’s embedded in the region’s love of all things Halloween.
It makes for the perfect time to visit. You’ll be treated to haunted hayrides, pumpkins galore, and fun, festive celebrations.
Embracing Oktoberfest on the Cape
A slice of Germany makes its way to the Cape every fall. Since the mid-80s, Mashpee has been entertaining those young and old with an annual Oktoberfest on the Village Green, typically held in the beginning of the month, that features craft vendors, live entertainment, pumpkin decorating, face painting, food trucks, and a biergarten complete with a German band.
The Cape Cod Museum of Art also gets in the act with a fun-filled event complete with beer and food tastings from local breweries and restaurants, live Bavarian music, games, raffle prizes, and tours of the museum. They may be optional, but lederhosen and dirndls are recommended!
Oktoberfest in Chatham takes place in late October in Kate Gould Park, and includes games for kids, live music, face painting, food and the Devil’s Purse Beer Garden. While you’re there, make sure to check out Chatham’s Pumpkin People in the Park. The Pumpkin People can be found in Kate Gould Park and the bandstand on Main Street, starting in mid-October. The Pumpkin People are created by local businesses, organizations, and individuals who want to be part of the fun!
Spooky and Fun Halloween Activities
Want to take a Cape Cod ghost tour? Barnstable Village’s Haunted & History Tour is offered Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday until mid-November. The three-hour walking tour includes Cobb’s Hill Cemetery and the Old Jail – built in the 1690s, it’s the oldest wooden jail in America – as well as other haunted locations. Reservations are required; call (508)-241-1151.
Provincetown Ghost Tours offers 90-minute walking tours at 8 PM in the fall, exploring many of the town’s historic buildings, homes, inns, and cemeteries. The tour includes stories about Provincetown’s past, reported ghost sightings, and folklore. Reservations are recommended: register online or call (508)-487-4810.
Other fun and spooky events include lectures on topics appropriate for the season. Greg Williams often touches upon morbid topics at locations throughout the region, including Tales of Cape Cod and Sturgis Library, both in Barnstable. Storyteller Williams is a retired judge who has presented talks on Lizzie Borden, the Boston Massacre, witches, and Edgar Allan Poe.
Spooky Bear Weekend in Provincetown, held the last weekend in October, includes parties, dances, family-friendly events, a haunted house, and a costume ball.
Yarmouth Port Halloween Haunt is a free family trick-or-treating event around the Yarmouth Port Common, held on Halloween night. Visit the Bangs Hallet House, the Edward Gorey House, Thacher Hall (formerly the New Church), and the Chapter House Inn for treats and some scary Halloween fun in a safe environment. All ages welcome!
Speaking of which, the Edward Gorey House is always worth a visit during the Halloween season, given the slightly macabre tilt of his work. The house is the former dwelling of the acclaimed author and artist, who owned it from 1979 until his death in 2000. It’s a landmark cultural attraction, contributing to the community with annual exhibitions, children’s events, and literary programs for children and adults. The Edward Gorey House is open to the public, mid-April through December, with changing exhibits and permanent displays.
Several Cape locales host family-friendly trick-or-treating, including Mashpee Commons, Cape Cod Mall, Heritage Museums, Barnstable Village, and downtown Hyannis. It’s a fun, safe way to enjoy the scariest night of the year!
What’s Better Than Pumpkins in the Fall?
If you love pumpkins — and who doesn’t — try pumpkin picking at a local Cape Cod farm. Pumpkin Day at Bourne Farm in Falmouth, takes place in the beginning of October. Coonamessett Farm in East Falmouth, offers pumpkin picking throughout October and pumpkin decorating on the days leading up to Halloween. Crow Farm in Sandwich, also offers pumpkin and apple picking and a corn maze in the fall; check their Facebook page for updated days and times. Tony Andrews Farm in East Falmouth, has pumpkins, apples, and sunflowers to pick in October, as well as hayrides on the weekends!
You can also get your pumpkins at Cape Abilities Farm in Dennis, or at one of the church pumpkin patches, such as the West Yarmouth Congregational Church, open from 9 AM until dusk, Mondays through Saturdays, and 11:30 AM to dusk, Sundays through October, or the First Congregational Church of Chatham 10 AM to 5 PM, daily through October.
Or, if you like your pumpkins in the form of beautiful art, try the Sandwich Pumpkin Fest at the Sandwich Glass Museum, held annually towards the end of October. This free outdoor show and sale features glass pumpkins and seasonally themed glass items. Make sure to tour the museum to view the extraordinary collection of glass and learn about the history of Sandwich, with hourly glass making presentations at the glass furnace, as well as special exhibits of contemporary glass artists.