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Boo at the Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo, fall festival, photo by Jeremy Enlow

15 Fall Festivals in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area

Pumpkins petting zoos and food galore

Temperatures still may not be cool enough for sweaters and boots here in Texas, but luckily there are plenty of festivals in Dallas-Fort Worth to put you and the kids in the fall spirit. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite fall festivals taking place in the next few weeks, from the must-see pumpkin patches all over Dallas-Fort Worth to Día de los Muertos and lots more celebrations with activities like face painting, crafts and bounce houses.

The festivals below are listed in order by date.

Autumn at the Arboretum: A Fall Fairy Tale
Where: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
When: Sept. 17–Oct. 31, 2022; 10am–5pm
Why go: We love the arboretum any time of year but especially now during fall. The nature exhibit features Cinderella’s white carriage pulled by two horses sculpted in foliage. Come check out the Pumpkin Village, a child-sized hay maze, magic carpet selfies, and more displays inspired by tales like One Thousand and One Nights.
Cost: Free with garden admission: $20 adults; $12 children; under 2 free; additional $3 for Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

State Fair of Texas
Where: Fair Park, Dallas
When: Sept. 30–Oct. 23, 2022; hours vary
Why go: The fair is famous for its fried foods (hello, deep fried PB and Razbrûlée), but did you know you can also bring your own snacks and drinks for no extra charge? Even coolers and ice chests are welcome too, as well as small wagons to haul around your kid and preferred chow. (No glass, alcohol, or metal cutlery allowed.) If you really want fair food, come on Thrifty Thursday for discounts at marked booths.
Cost: Daily fair admission: $15 adults; $10 children; under 3 free. Adults pay child price after 5pm daily.

Frights’n Lights
Where: Riders Ballpark, Frisco
When: Oct. 1– 31, 2022; times vary
Why go: Halloween fun goes all month long at this not-too-spooky lights attraction outside the Frisco RoughRiders’ home stadium. The thousands of intricately carved jack-o’-lanterns bring on the creepy vibes. On the kiddie entertainment front, the loads of unique activities like a corn kernel pit, a Frankenstein-themed foam pit, and a creepy carnival with games like pumpkin bowling.
Cost: $21.99 adults; $18.99 children; under 3 free.

Plano International Festival
Where: Haggard Park, Plano
When: Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022; 11am–5pm
Why go: Tour the world and improve your wellness at this annual fest honoring the diversity in Plano’s community. Here in the heart of downtown Plano, you’ll experience a taste of more than 100 cultures through music and dance performances, food trucks and educational displays. Plus, kids can explore STEM activities and travel from booth to booth with a virtual passport. And the wellness part? In Courtyard Theater from 10am–1pm, join the fitness demos in the FitZone and get your free flu and COVID-19 shots and more health screenings.
Cost: Free admission

Corinth Pumpkin Palooza
Where: Corinth Community Park
When: Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022; 11am–9pm
Why go: Pumpkin Palooza combines all the things we love about fall into one amazing day: pumpkins, hot air balloons, and free kids activities. Expect a full lineup of musical entertainers on two stages, amusement park rides, a petting zoo and a pumpkin patch with pumpkins for sale. If you feel like getting crafty, paint your own spooky masterpiece with a provided pumpkin and paints.
Cost: Free festival admission. For a $20 fee, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the festival in tethered balloon rides (weather permitting) from 6–8pm.

Eerie Irving
Where: Trinity View Park, Irving
When: Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022; 6–10pm
Why go: Irving Parks and Recreation invites the community out to this walk-thru Halloween festival with options for those who like to be scared and for those who aren’t yet ready for it. The enclosed haunted scenes feature a haunted wedding chapel, a graveyard and more encounters with pirates and zombies. Or you can take your younger ones straight to the free carnival games and rides. Make sure you’re there at the top of the hour when the first 100 guests score free pumpkins.
Cost: Free admission

Boo at the Zoo
Where: Fort Worth Zoo
When: Friday–Sunday, Oct. 28–30, 2022; 10am–5pm
Why go: For those who can’t wait until Halloween night, why not maximize your family fun with daytime fun at the zoo? You’ll enjoy treat stations, animal shows and more themed entertainment at designated spots around the zoo all weekend.
Cost: Free with admission: $18 adults; $14 children; under 3 free.

Dallas Día de los Muertos
Where: Dallas City Hall
When: Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022; 2–10pm
Why go: Want to see the most stunning Catrinas and Catrins? Don’t miss this third annual festival and parade, getting bigger and bolder each year. The family-friendly festivities run from 2–10pm, with the community parade stepping off at 7pm.
Cost: Free admission

Trick or Treat the Square
Where: Simpson Plaza at Frisco Square
When: Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022; 1–4pm
Why go: Show off your Halloween costumes and check out what everyone else is wearing at this daytime festival at Frisco Square’s Simpson Plaza. (It’s a great alternative, too, to nighttime trick-or-treating if you’re wary of navigating residential neighborhoods after dark.) The community is welcome to enjoy carnival games, inflatables and horse wagon rides around the square.
Cost: Free admission

Big Cat Pumpkin Toss & Fall Festival
Where:
In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Educational Center, Wylie
When: Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022; 11am–4pm
Why go: Pumpkins aren’t just for carving and photo ops. They’re for eating and playing, too—at least for the rescued big cats at In-Sync Exotics. The lions, tigers, cougars—they’ll all receive their own fall treats during this annual event that’s open to the public. The day includes face painting, a bounce house and games for kids. Make you’re sure there by 2pm to watch how the cats react to their pumpkins.
Cost: $15 adults; $10 kids ages 4–12; free for kids under 4

Festival at the Switchyard
Where: Downtown Carrollton
When: Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022; 11am–10pm
Why go: This particular fest is a fab choice for two reasons. One, you’ve got the free entertainment during the day, so your kids can enjoy the entire children’s area with abandon—everything from zip line, rock climbing wall and a game truck, crafts and face painting. Then after dark, you’ve got the rock concerts by headliners Soul Asylum and Hoobastank for lovers of music from the ‘90s and early aughts.
Cost: Free admission and free children’s activities

Japanese Garden Fall Festival
Where: Fort Worth Botanic Garden
When: Saturday–Sunday, Nov. 5–6, 2022; 9am–5pm
Why go: If your kids have never fed the koi fish at the Japanese garden, this twice-annual cultural festival is a lovely excuse to go visit for the first time. The Fort Worth Japanese Society presents performances throughout the day, including taiko drumming, swordsmanship and karate, as well as origami and Japanese games.
Cost: $12 adults; $10 children; under 6 free. Register online to join the tea ceremonies in Oak Hall: $5 adults; $3 children.

Holiday at the Arboretum
Where: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
When: Nov. 9–Dec. 31, 2022; 9am–5pm and 6–9pm
Why go: Soon after its Autumn at the Arboretum festival concludes, Dallas Arboretum ushers in the return of its 12 Days of Christmas gazebos and Christmas Village with the Dazzling Musical Tree at its center. Come visit during the daytime or after dark to see everything lit up, and don’t miss the new exhibit in the DeGolyer House honoring Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa. Check out their site for details about Santa visits and special family entertainment throughout the season.
Cost: Daytime admission: $20 adults; $12 children; under 2 free. From $10 for nighttime admission.

Stories & Songs with Santa
Where: NorthPark Center, Dallas
When: Nov. 25–Dec. 24, 2022; hours vary
Why go: NorthPark Center’s many holiday festivities kick off the day after Thanksgiving including, most notably, a new Santa experience with Joel Lagrone. He’s not only an aerospace engineer (how else would he fly his sleigh?) but he’s also a guitarist and singer. And each day through Christmas Eve, Santa kicks off his day of visits with an all-new story time with original sing-alongs with sleigh bells and rock ‘n’ roll guitar. Stop by Macy’s Court on level one at 10:30am Mondays–Saturdays and at noon on Sundays.
Cost: Visits begin at $25 (includes donation to Children’s Health) and must be booked online in advance. All bookings will be released at noon on November 20.

Home for the Holidays: A McKinney Christmas
Where: Historic Downtown McKinney
When: Friday–Sunday, Nov. 25–27, 2022; hours vary
Why go: Thanksgiving weekend marks the 41st year for this hometown Christmas celebration. The 14-block area of McKinney’s 165-year-old commercial historic downtown hosts all the family activities, food and entertainment. Ring in the winter holiday cheer here in Downtown McKinney, known for its small-town feel with a big holiday spirit. The festival opens Friday at 10:30am and runs through Sunday and features the town tree lighting.
Cost: Free admission


Top photo courtesy of Jeremy Enlow, Fort Worth Zoo