The pumpkins aren’t the only ones that leave the annual Central Park Pumpkin Festival with smiles on their faces. The event, scaring the crowd on Saturday, October 26th at leafy Central Park’s bandshell, celebrates all of the best family traditions of autumn. Carve up a fierce jack-o-lantern, or, for the faint of heart, bedazzle your pumpkin with a medley of decorations. The pumpkin patch, blanketed by a veil of brisk air, is perfect for a stroll.  Plus, your little monster can take home a free sugar pumpkin. Startle and then satiate your bellies with the offerings of the Pride of New York Farmers Market.

Once you’ve had your fill of all things pumpkin, break it up and jumpstart your heart in the spooktacular haunted house, said to be the scariest yet. For a magical twist on the traditional autumn holiday, aparate to Hogwarts and participate in fast-paced, live-action Quidditch matches. Don’t stop there; it’s not all about spine-chilling fruit and mystical sports at this festival. The air is cluttered with applause as Kidrockers make an appearance to shred the stage for parents and kids alike, and the roar of ghoulish laughter rings loud as the clowns of Big Apple Circus bumble around the stage in slapstick mastery. It’s not often all of the best fall family traditions are offered for free, so grab a glass of hot apple cider and your scariest disguise; this year’s going to be a blast.