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Fall fun in and around Lakeland

Check out fall and Halloween-themed events happening in and around Lakeland in this seasonal guide.

A large tree covered in jack-o-lanterns and lit with red lighting.

We can feel the fall festivities coming.

Photo by @hauntscene

Table of Contents

Ready for sweater weather, Lakeland? From pumpkin patches and corn mazes to Halloween and Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, fall is just around the corner for Swan City.

Get ready to come alive — or play dead at fall-tastic haunted houses like Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail — with this guide featuring 40+ fall events happening between now and November.

Farms and frights

Harvest Holler Corn Maze | Friday, Sept. 22-Sunday, Nov. 12 | Times vary | Harvest Holler Corn Maze, 950 Tavares Rd., Polk City | $12-$15 | Explore a corn maze and pumpkin patch, or take a hayride through this fall farm.

Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail | Friday, Sept. 29-Saturday, Nov. 4 | Times vary | Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail, 2837 S. Frontage Rd., Plant City | $27-$57 | Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail celebrates its 10th season with three outdoor haunted trails, a new haunted hayride, escape games, and axe throwing.

Fox Squirrel Corn Maze | Saturday, Oct. 7-Sunday, Nov. 5 | Times vary | Fox Squirrel Corn Maze, 6151 Varn Rd., Plant City | $12 | Get lost in a 5-acre corn maze, create custom wildflower bouquets, and soar on the jump pad.

Resurrected: Haunted Jail | Friday, Oct. 20-Saturday, Oct. 28 | 6:30-10:30 p.m. | Polk County Jail, 455 N. Broadway Ave., Bartow | $5-$15 | Keep an eye out for ghosts and goblins as you make your way through the jail and enjoy a street carnival outside.

A mariachi band takes the stage at sunset on the Frances Langford Promenade

Celebrate Lakeland’s different cultures at this year’s Hispanic Festival.

Photo by @flordlangeles

Fall fun for all

Fall Family Day | Saturday, Sept. 23 | 10 a.m.-1 p.m. | Polk Museum of Art, 800 E. Palmetto St., Lakeland | Free | All ages are invited to the museum’s open house for fall-themed games, magic shows, a scavenger hunt, and activities.

2023 Annual Hispanic Festival of Lakeland | Saturday, Sept. 30 | 1-9 p.m. | Lake Mirror, 121 S. Lake Ave., Lakeland | $15 | Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with music and dancing on the Frances Langford Promenade.

First Friday: Cookie Carnival | Friday, Oct. 6 | 6-9 p.m. | Downtown Lakeland, 117 N. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland | Free entry | Be a cookie judge at this downtown event with food trucks, a makers market, and extended hours for downtown shops.

Bienvenido a BSP — Hispanic Heritage Celebration | Saturday, Oct. 7 | 8 a.m.-5 p.m. | Bonnet Springs Park, 400 Bonnet Springs Blvd., Lakeland | Free entry | Shop from an artisan market, enjoy special offers from The Depot, Rooftop Bar, and food trucks, and listen to Selena tribute band Bidi Bidi Banda.

Swantoberfest at Swan Brewing! | Friday, Oct. 13-Sunday, Oct. 15 | 12-7 p.m. | Swan Brewing, 115 W. Pine St., Lakeland | Free entry | Raise your stein to traditional German cuisine, festive music, competitions, and newly released beers.

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Families take on the Lakeland Cardboard Boat Challenge.

Photo via Eventbrite

18th Lakeland Cardboard Boat Challenge & Lakes Festival | Saturday, Oct. 14 | 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | Lake Hollingsworth Boat Ramp, 920 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland | $0-$35 | Register your team of adults, kids, or families to build and race a cardboard boat on Lake Hollingsworth — or just stop by to watch the action.

We Let the Dogs Out | Saturday, Oct. 21 | 11 a.m.-3 p.m. | The Joinery, 640 E. Main St., Lakeland | Free entry | Bring your pup for a costume contest and shopping, or adopt one on-site from the SPCA.

Halloween Bash: Galactic Invasion | Friday, Oct. 27 | 5-7 p.m. | Lakeside Village, 1479 Town Center Dr., Lakeland | Free | Have some out-of-this-world fun with trick-or-treating, a live DJ, and family fun on the Lawn.

SUN ‘n FUN Family Spooktacular | Saturday, Oct. 28 | 4-9 p.m. | Sun ‘n Fun Expo Campus, 4075 James C. Ray Dr., Lakeland | $5 | Trick-or-treat on the taxiway and visit Ms. Pat’s Traveling Emporium of Horror — overnight plane and RV camping is available.

PAL-OWEEN | Sunday, Oct. 29 | 5-8 p.m. | PAL Complex, 325 W. 2nd St., Lakeland | Free | Visit trunk-or-treat stations and a photo area fit for the whole family.

First Friday: Dancing Under the Stars | Friday, Nov. 3 | 6-9 p.m. | Downtown Lakeland, 117 N. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland | Free entry | Salute to our armed forces members with a night of dancing in Munn Park.

Children from the Watoto Children's Choir singing and dancing on stage

Catch the Watoto Children’s Choir on their US tour stop at SEU.

Photo provided by Southeastern University

Autumnal arts

Watoto Children’s Choir | Tuesday, Sept. 26 | 7 p.m. | Bush Chapel, Southeastern University, 1000 Longfellow Blvd., Lakeland | Free | This children’s choir from Kampala, Uganda will perform songs from their new album “Better Days — There Is Hope.”

“Unnecessary Farce” | Friday, Sept. 29-Sunday, Oct. 8 | Times vary | Buckner Theatre at Florida Southern College, 1100 Johnson Ave., Lakeland | $10-$20 | Florida Southern College students kick off the Festival of Fine Arts with this comedic mystery play.

“Honk! Jr.” | Friday, Oct. 6-Sunday, Oct. 8 | Times vary | Lakeland Community Theatre, 121 S. Lake Ave., Lakeland | $12-$15 | See Lakeland’s young actors perform this heartwarming reimagining of The Ugly Duckling story.

Swan City Improv Comedy Show! | Friday, Oct. 6, Friday, Nov. 3 | Times vary | Rec Room, 202 N. Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland | $10-$15 | Laugh along at these improvised comedy shows — all ages are welcome to the 7:30 p.m. shows and the 9:30 p.m. shows are 21+.

Child of the Sun Night of Music 2023 | Thursday, Oct. 12 | 7:30-9 p.m. | Branscomb Auditorium at Florida Southern College, 1100 Johnson Ave., Lakeland | Free | Enjoy this symphony and jazz band concert inspired by the architecture around the auditorium and campus.

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The Lakeland Symphony Orchestra will perform around Lakeland this fall.

Photo via @dash844

LSO Symphony Series: Hungarian Nights feat. Robert Fleitz | Saturday, Oct. 14 | 7-8:30 p.m. | Branscomb Auditorium at Florida Southern College, 1100 Johnson Ave., Lakeland | $29-$49 | The Lakeland Symphony Orchestra will perform works by Brahms, Liszt, and Kodaly.

“Oh What a Night!” | Tuesday, Oct. 17 | 7 p.m. | RP Funding Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland | $69-$80 | Sing along with this musical tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons.

“The Humans” | Wednesday, Oct. 18-Thursday, Oct. 19 | 7:30 p.m. | Lakeland Community Theatre, 121 S. Lake Ave., Lakeland | $15 | Lakeland actors will perform this Tony award-winning play about family struggles.

Classic Albums Live: The Police, “Synchronicity” | Thursday, Oct. 19 | 7:30-10 p.m. | RP Funding Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland | $44-$52 | Hear this best-selling album performed “note for note, cut for cut,” just like the original.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood” | Friday, Nov. 3-Sunday, Nov. 12 | Times vary | Lakeland Community Theatre, 121 S. Lake Ave., Lakeland | $22-$28 | Find out whodunit in this interactive mystery musical.

FSC|Dance: Fall into Dance | Friday, Nov. 3-Sunday, Nov. 5 | Times vary | Branscomb Auditorium at Florida Southern College, 1100 Johnson Ave., Lakeland | $10-$20 | FSC students, faculty, and guest artists will stun audiences with exciting choreography.

“The Addams Family” | Friday, Nov. 17-Sunday, Dec. 3 | Times vary | Buckner Theatre at Florida Southern College, 1100 Johnson Ave., Lakeland | $10-$20 | They’re crazy and they’re kooky — see the Addams take the stage in this comedic musical.

CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE | Saturday, Nov. 18 | 4 p.m. | RP Funding Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland | $32-$102 | Get a head start on the holiday season with this performance packed with acrobatics and circus acts.

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Shop for unique goods from local makers at the Lakeland Punk Flea Market.

Photo by @lakelandpunkflea

Seasonal shopping

Lakeland Punk Rock Flea Market Vol. 7 | Sunday, Sept. 24 | 12-6 p.m. | Swan Brewing, 115 W. Pine St., Lakeland | Price of purchase | Shop from 80+ eccentric vendors, grab a bite from your favorite local food truck, and rock out to live music.

Mossy Hollow Market | Saturday, Sept. 30 | 2-8 p.m. | Metals and Nature, 1501 W. State Rd. 60, Plant City | Price of purchase | Visit artists + vendors at this enchanted forest-themed market including a potions bar, stargazing tent, and wishing cauldron — costumes are encouraged.

Plant Pop-Up in Munn Park | Saturday, Oct. 14 | 8 a.m.-2 p.m. | Munn Park, 201 E. Main St,. Lakeland | Price of purchase | Plant and garden vendors will sell everything you need for your fall foliage.

Bartowcon | Saturday, Oct. 14 | 10 a.m.-6 p.m. | Bartow Civic Center, 2250 S. Floral Ave., Bartow | $12-$15 | Shop collectibles from 100+ vendors and meet special guests from series like “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Star Trek.”

Downtown Lakeland street lined with vendor tents and shoppers

Find local vendors and unique goods downtown.

Photo by LALtoday

Fall Night Market | Saturday, Oct. 28 | 5-9 p.m. | Downtown Lakeland, 117 N. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland | Price of purchase | Shop, dine, and enjoy live music under the stars with 100+ vendors from Lemon Street to Oak Street.

Spooks + Shops at The Back Nine | Saturday, Oct. 28 | 5-9 p.m. | The Back Nine, 124 S. Tennessee Ave., Lakeland | Price of purchase | Shop from small business vendors and enjoy a meal inside The Back Nine — kids in costume eat free.

Dixieland Art & Alley Fest | Saturday, Nov. 11 | 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Dixieland Village, 1035 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland | Price of purchase | Celebrate all things art, food, and music — you may even see Santa getting a head start on Christmas shopping.

The Joinery Trading Post | Saturday, Nov. 11 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m. | The Joinery, 640 E. Main St., Lakeland | Price of purchase | Shop this local maker’s market for art, jewelry, home decor, and craft cocktails.

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There’s a race for every runner this season.

Photo provided by Publix

Fall fitness

Mind, Body, Movement: Tai-Chi | Saturday, Sept. 30 | 8-9 a.m. | Bonnet Springs Park, 400 Bonnet Springs Blvd., Lakeland | Free | Take part in a gentle movement meditation led by Satya Life Yoga.

Leading Edge Take Heart 5K | Saturday, Sept. 30 | 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Lake Hollingsworth Park, 929 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland | $45 | Run this race to raise funds for a primary school in rural Kenya.

Run for the Boo-lies | Saturday, Oct. 7 | 6 p.m. | Lake Hollingsworth Park, 929 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland | $30 | Run alongside Lakeland’s dogs to raise money for the Polk County Bully Project, then join an afterparty at The Yard on Mass.

Pumpkin Dash 5K | Saturday, Oct. 28 | 7-11 a.m. | Sun ‘n Fun Expo Campus, 4075 James C. Ray Dr., Lakeland | $35 | Wear your best costume for this Halloween-themed race across the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus.

InnerAct Alliance’s Annual Red Ribbon Run and Challenge | Saturday, Oct. 28 | 7 a.m.-12 p.m. | Lake Mirror Center, 121 S. Lake Ave., Lakeland | $0-$5 | Kids in grades K-8 can run around Lake Mirror for prizes, or families can join the Family Fun Run.

47th Lake to Lake 10k — 2023 | Saturday, Nov. 4 | 7:30 a.m. | Lake Mirror Promenade, 121 S. Lake Ave., Lakeland | $37.50 | Run by Lake Mirror, Lake Morton, and Lake Hollingsworth in this 10K.