The World’s Best October Festivals

All across the world autumn is a big time for celebrating. And while many cultures are honouring the traditional autumn harvest and enjoying delicious feasts made from the produce, many other societies commemorate this time of year with more distinctive and out-of-the-ordinary festivals.

If you love to dive in at the deep end and travel to destinations when they’re celebrating everything which makes them unique and individual, book your next trip so that it coincides with one of these best October festivals in the world.

The MassKara Festival Philippines Best October Festivals in the World
The MassKara Festival in the Philippines is one of the happiest October festivals in the world! Photo Billy Lopue / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Best October Festivals in the World


September 17th to October 3rd 2016 in Munich, Germany

It’s impossible to talk about the October festivals in the world without including Oktoberfest. What started out as a horse race to celebrate Prince Ludwig’s wedding in 1810 has transformed into the huge beer festival hosted each year by countries around the world today. This festival is one of the few in which the cliché is actually the reality. Oktoberfest really is made up of millions of lederhosen-clad locals and visitors swaying side-by-side on long wooden benches drinking tankards of beer and gobbling up traditional German fare. Although it’s definitely a vital part of the festival, it’s not all about drinking. Oktoberfest also includes parades, ceremonies, live bands, fairgrounds and family days each Tuesday when all rides and performances are cheaper than normal.

Best October Festivals in the World: Don't forget to hit up an oompa loompa concert during Oktoberfest!
Don’t forget to hit up an oompa loompa concert during Oktoberfest!

Village Halloween Parade

October 31st 2016 in New York City, USA

In NYC, instead of getting dressed up for a friend’s house party, locals don their spookiest gear and hit the streets of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village for the only night parade in America! Established since 1974 by local puppeteer Ralph Lee who always looks for unconventional ways to show off his amazing work, this incredible parade sees float after float drive down the street, each one carrying a more impressive and creepy life-size Halloween-themed puppet than the last. Although you’re guaranteed to see the usual skeletons and witches, there’s always something obscure and unbelievable hidden amongst the floats just waiting to be spotted.

Best October Festivals in the World: The Village Halloween Parade doesn't just feature puppets. There are plenty of people in amazing costumes participating, too. Image via Flickr, Adrian Cabrero CC 2.0
The Village Halloween Parade doesn’t just feature puppets. There are plenty of people in amazing costumes. Photo Adrian Cabrero / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

MassKara Festival

October 1st to October 23rd in Bacolod City, Philippines

Sometimes the happiest festivals are born out of devastating events. The MassKara Festival came to be in 1980, following a major boating accident in which hundreds of locals were killed. To bring a smile on the face of the city and counteract the hardships friends and family were facing without their loved ones, the city’s community leaders and artists worked together to create a feel-good festival. Each year the festival goes from strength to strength, with a Rio-like carnival atmosphere taking over the city. The main parade is the biggest event, in which huge groups of costumed dancers wear brightly coloured outfits and grinning masks as they works their way through the streets and spread joy to everyone watching.

Best October Festivals in the World: Colourful outfits and smiling masks really liven up spirits during the MassKara Festival.
Colourful outfits and smiling masks liven up the MassKara Festival. Photo Billy Lopue / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

About Nicola Quinn


Nicola is a travel and food writer living in the Canary Islands who loves exploring far-off places, pushing herself to the limit and trying local eats wherever she goes.

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