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The best of what to do in and around New York this month.

Fall abounds with pumpkin picking on Staten Island and Oktoberfest at Tavern on the Green, while Halloween is in the air with a slasher film drinking game, an eerie organ performance at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, and a canine costume parade.

AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.

October 1 - 15 | Food & drink
Tavern on the Grün
If you think that Central Park’s ritzy Tavern on the Green restaurant is just for special occasions and weddings, think again. Head to its outdoor garden through October 15 for an Oktoberfest experience to remember, including Yankee Red Hot sausages from Pig Beach plus other specialties from chef Bill Peet, and an enhanced selection of beers, including Oktoberfest and autumn varieties from local NY breweries, such as Bluepoint and Southern Tier. There are also fun extras, like a DIY flower crown station, lederhosen photo opps, and more.
4:00 PM - 11:00 PM | Tavern on the Green, 67th St. and Central Park W., New York | website

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October 1 - 31 | Art
Sophie Calle’s “Voir la mer”
Evocative French artist Sophie Calle, known for her conceptual works and installations, will be taking over the screens at Times Square for a few minutes each night this month as part of the Times Square Arts Midnight Moments series. Presented with the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) as part of Crossing the Line Festival 2017, Calle’s three-minute video piece Voir la mer, which shows the emotional silent reaction of five Turkish people viewing the sea for the first time, will be on the jumbo screen.
11:57 PM - 12:00 AM | Times Square, New York | Free | website

October 1 - 31 | Outdoor event
Pumpkin Picking at Historic Richmond Town
Pumpkin picking may seem like an activity you need to head out to the country to do, but in reality you don’t need to leave the five boroughs. Take a trip through time to Decker Farm at Historic Richmond Town, a preserved 19th-century farm on Staten Island. Every weekend in October it will be offering tours, hayrides, face painting, arts and crafts, a corn maze, and—of course—pumpkin picking.
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM | Historic Richmondtown, Decker Farm, 441 Clarke Ave., Staten Island | $6 | website

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October 2 - 14 | Dance
Fall for Dance Festival
For the 14th year running, the Fall for Dance Festival brings together renowned dance companies and emerging performers alike from around the world to City Center for 10 days of performances. This year, catch pieces from Miami City Ballet, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Cie Art Move Concept, and others. And don’t miss the free dance lessons for ticket holders before select shows.
8:00 PM | New York City Center, 131 W. 55th St., New York | $15 | website

October 9 | Comedy
Janelle James Album Release Party
For a good laugh, head to the Knitting Factory for Janelle James’s release party to celebrate the comedian’s debut comedy album, Black and Mild. Lauded as one of The 50 Most Funny People in Brooklyn 2016 by Brooklyn Magazine and appearing with the likes of Chris Rock on his Total Blackout Tour 2017, she is a hilarious force to be reckoned with.
8:30 PM | Knitting Factory Brooklyn, 361 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn | From $12 | website

The site of Halloween Extravaganza

October 10 | Film
A Drinking Game NYC Presents Scream
Start getting in the spooky Halloween spirit with the 1990s cult classic Scream, aka the highest-grossing slasher flick of all time. But don’t show up at Littlefield expecting a screening. Rather, it’s a live staged reading of the film. But that’s not all; it’s also a group drinking game. There will be a list of words and phrases, and anytime one is said a bell will ring and everyone will be encouraged to take a drink—even the actor playing that character. Needless to say, things will get more and more interesting as the night goes on.
8:00 PM | Littlefield, 635 Sackett St., Brooklyn | $12 | website

October 21 | Comedy
So You Think You Can Rap
Part performance, part competition, and part comedy, So You Think You Can Rap is a monthly event worth checking out at the Creek and the Cave in Long Island City. Hosted by comedian and broadcaster Noah Savage and DJ’d by actor, DJ, and comic Will Winner, the show pits comedians against each other in freestyle rap games and battles. The results usually rhyme and are always amusing.
10:00 PM | The Creek and the Cave, 10-93 Jackson Ave., Queens | $5 | website

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October 27 | Holiday
Halloween Extravaganza
There is something particularly eerie about cathedrals during All Hallows’ Eve, and the historic Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine is embracing its inner spookiness with this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. There will first be a silent screening of the original 1925 Phantom of the Opera film accompanied by live organ music. Next up, the nave will be filled with a procession of Ralph Lee and the Mettawee River Theater Company’s ghosts and ghouls.
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave., New York | $25 | website

October 28 | Holiday
Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest
The Village Halloween Parade may get all the fame, but for something with a little less ruckus and a little more adorable, head to Fort Greene Park for the 19th Annual Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest. Last year it had 125 costumed canines (with a pup dressed as the Doggie Llama taking home the grand prize) and over 2,000 human attendees. If it rains on the 28th, the parade will happen the following day, October 29, at the same time.
11:30 AM | Fort Greene Park, New York | Free | website

November 23 | Plan ahead: Holiday
Thanksgiving at Aureole
If the idea of hosting Thanksgiving this year is too much—or if you are visiting from out of town—consider snagging a restaurant reservation instead. But get on it sooner rather than later! For a special Thanksgiving lunch or dinner, try to secure a table at Charlie Palmer’s famed Aureole, where executive chef Gabriele Carpentieri will be offering a three-course Thanksgiving prix fixe with dishes like NY strip steak with chestnuts and organic turkey with roasted pumpkin.
| Aureole, 135 W. 42nd St., New York | From $85 | website

A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to an inquisitive toddler.

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