October in the Smoky Mountains is the peak time for the fabulous fall colors everywhere, and no surprise that it’s also the most popular month for couples to get married. Holidays are getting closer, festive events are breaking out everywhere, and the end of the month will take on its traditional spooky turn, but meanwhile it’s all about the brilliant colors of the leaves on the trees.
Here’s the scoop on events happening in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area during October this year.
Scenic Drives and Fall Colors
The Gatlinburg side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a myriad of roads that are scenic drives just traveling from A to B – frankly, the whole area is spectacular. When the fall colors come, it gets outrageously beautiful in some spots, and you’ll want to take some of the best drives to get out and view the colors all around.
See our guide to Fall Scenic Drives and Overlooks for the road info, and for the many other ways, walks and rides that also immerse you in the season’s colors, see our definitive guide to Where to See the Fall Colors in the Smoky Mountains.
Weddings in the Smoky Mountains
The Smoky Mountains are a hugely romantic setting, and a great favorite for getaways, marriage proposals, weddings, honeymoons and anniversaries.
While May is a strong contender, the biggest month for weddings is October, when the fall colors make everything glorious. And Gatlinburg locals make it easy and fun to get married here. See our guides to getting the thousand-and-one details handled to make the special day perfect in our Gatlinburg Weddings pages, as well as our Romance Packages that turn love into a celebration.
October Events in the Smokies
No better place to view the mountains than from the mountain top, and Gatlinburg SkyPark offers the fun way to do this all month. October 1 begins the fun with the family-friendly Boo Bash – getting the jump on Halloween and lasting throughout the month with daily festivities. Also throughout the month the SkyPark is offering a fabulous view of the Smoky Mountain Sunrise each Friday morning (book in advance).
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure gets plumb scary in October, starting on October 1 with its annual Fright Nights, for the 25th year of scaring people out of their wits for fun. This lark lasts all month until the big day on October 31.
Some people like simply to enjoy the fall, and Sevierville is no exception. This historic and fun-loving small town next to Pigeon Forge offers a chance to grab some fabulous bites on the courthouse lawn for one evening on October 3. The Farm to Fork one-off event presents food from top chefs, paired with wine and backed with live music, along with art and an auction, and an optional whisky & cigar nightcap. It’s a local thing that you’re welcome to join and enjoy.
Back in Gatlinburg, one of the year’s best events occurs as the annual Fall Craftsmen’s Fair opens at the Convention Center on October 5 and lasts through October 22. That’s two great weeks of window and real shopping, with displays from the nation’s largest community of independent artists, offering world-class handmade and unique craft items for sale and commission. Meet the more than 200 artisans and watch them at work, with live music and good food to help you get through the day’s adventure.
With all the scenic driving available in this time of year, it matters what car you’re driving, and for some it has to be Volkswagen. The annual Circle Yer Wagens auto meet happens October 7-8 on the north side of Sevierville, for VW fans to gather, compete and swap in this huge event.
Here’s a sidewalk of a different color at The Island on October 8, it’s the annual Chalkfest at The Island for the 7th year. Great artists from across the land gather to wow your eyes with optical wonders in this excellent live exhibition that is here today and may well be gone tomorrow.
Downtown Sevierville struts its history on October 19, with its History & Haunts street party. Family friendly, free of charge and open to all, the historic streets of our county seat give up their stories with walking tours and storytellers, as well as dancing, lawn games and fireworks.
Wears Valley offers another party a little off the beaten track on October 20-22, in the 10th Annual Wears Valley Fall Fest. In the heart of the mountain fall colors, in a spacious setting midway between Pigeon Forge and Townsend, the festival offers hundreds of artisans and their wares, kids activities galore, food aplenty, and live music through the 3-day event.
The car enthusiasts keep coming, as everyone who know it was only ever about Jeeps gathers for this legendary vehicle’s turn to show off. October 21 is the date when the Jeep Crew puts on its annual meetup with Jeeptober Fest in the Smokies. Family friendly with kids (and pets) contests as well as the motors making their moves, and fun and spectacle throughout.
October 27 means the month is getting full-on dressed-up now, starting with a NON-scary event for the kids at the Pigeon Forge Community Center. The annual Halloween Spooktacular & Safety Day event is designed for fun and not fright, all treats and no tricks, with costumes, candies and games for the little ones. Totally free.
Another less scary event that same day is at the Gatlinburg SkyPark on October 27-28, when the venue offers the Fall Fest party – family friendly, face painting, Halloween costumes and lots of treats – included in the regular ticket cost.
The next day, Saturday, October 28, offers a chance to take the scenic drive over to Townsend and catch the Tuckaleechee Pottery Festival, with experts offering tips and tricks, and fine wares at all prices from the local artisan community. It all happens at the Heritage Center.
Yet another non-scary event on the same day, October 28, is brought to us by the laid back folks at the Wine Trail – it’s the 5th Annual Chocolate Wine Trail, with a little candy for the grown-ups. We may never know the genius who first paired chocolate with wine, but here’s our chance to say thanks!
October 31 is the big day of course, and Halloween parties and trick or treat events are happening all over. The Island always gives kids a great time, and the annual Halloween Trick or Treat happens in the early evening over there – family friendly, fun and safe.
In the daytime, from 11 am to 4 pm, the Plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium in downtown Gatlinburg warms up the season with its annual Trick or Treat Kick Off Karnival. Fun for everyone with costumes, candy and contests. Come the evening, if you’re in Sevierville, you may want to check the 5th Annual Spooktacular Block Party, hosted by the Sheriff for a safe and family-friendly party.