The sun setting over the Ouachita Mountains is a beautiful sight for travelers on the Talimena National Scenic Byway in southeast Oklahoma.
Photo Credit: Photo by Jason Wallace- jwallacephoto.com

Pumpkin patches, hot mugs of cider and small-town streets decorated for Halloween and harvest season signal a magical time in Oklahoma.  If you’re seeking a little fall-themed magic, these Oklahoma towns are a surefire autumn hit with plenty of seasonal attractions, fantastic festivals and breathtaking local foliage.

Claremore

The delightful Route 66 town of Claremore pulls out all the stops when it comes to celebrating fall. Venture into the rolling hills surrounding Claremore and make your way to Shepherd’s Cross for their annual pumpkin festival.  Held during each weekend in October, visitors are invited to enjoy hayrides, a petting zoo, hay maze and other activities that are fun for the entire family. For a bit of Halloween fun, grab the kiddos and head to the Will Rogers Memorial Museum for the “Halloween Night at the Museum” event. Kids can trick or treat their way through the museum in their costumes and the night ends with a screening of “Headless Horseman” starring Will Rogers himself.

Claremore also hosts a kids’ carnival for families with games and fall-themed activities including a Halloween movie night. The month of October also features the Claremore West Bend Block Party with food trucks, live music and games as well as a Halloween-themed Shop Late event with costume contests, deals at local boutiques and more.

If all of these activities leave you feeling hungry, hop over to The Hammett House Restaurant for a delicious assortment of soups (try the baked potato soup or famous navy bean!), stews and pies that will warm you up if there’s a chill in the air. Don’t miss The Nut House on Route 66, which is decked out in autumn decorations and also offers cool weather staples like gourmet coffee and fudge. When it’s time to see some beautiful foliage, head to the Rogers State University Conservation Education Reserve and walk the trails lined with changing trees.

For more information: Visit Claremore; Claremore Main Street

Hobart

Located in scenic southwestern Oklahoma, the quaint town of Hobart becomes a prime destination for fall fun with their headlining autumn event, the high-flying Pumpkin Palooza & Punkin Chunkin’ Festival. During this October festival, the Hobart Courthouse lawn welcomes everyone for pumpkin decorating, balancing, stacking, rolling and of course the famous pumpkin chunking contest. Watch as creative groups use cannons, catapults and even trebuchets to make pumpkins fly through the air as far as possible!

Hobart also offers three antique malls where you can scour for hidden treasures with a group of friends, as well as beautiful fall foliage at Quartz Mountain Nature Park, which is located nearby. Don’t forget to stop off at Frisco Creek Barbeque for delicious smoked meats and warm cobbler.

For more information: Hobart Main Street

Shawnee

Shawnee is known for Boo on Bell, their huge fall celebration that helps usher in cooler temperatures and vibrant autumn colors. For three days, Shawnee’s adorable downtown area is taken over by carnival games, rides, a car show, pumpkin pie eating contest, costume contests and shopping. Kids love the Zombie Parade and Main Street Trick-or-Treat event. 

If you’re feeling creepy, take part in a paranormal ghost tour that is part of Boo on Bell. Sunshine Shelly’s Pumpkin Patch is open through October for those seeking photo ops, a corn maze, pumpkin picking and family fun.

For more information: Visit Shawnee

Ponca City

The Marland Mansion & Estate, one of Ponca City’s biggest attractions, becomes even more breathtaking in fall. The grounds are extra pleasant to walk though in the cool air and the fall colors give the entire property a welcoming, warm feeling. Plan your trip at the right time and experience a flurry of German culture and excitement at Oktoberfest, held at the mansion each year. Visitors will enjoy all the classic Oktoberfest staples – live music, a beer garden and delicious food.

The Lester & Mary Cann Memorial Botanical Gardens are another special place for fall foliage, so stop by and enjoy the surrounding color show from the comfort of a gazebo. See more of Ponca City by shopping and antiquing on Grand Avenue where you’ll find popular stores like Simply Unique, which features everything from original art to vintage glassware. When you’re hungry, head to Danny’s BBQ Head Quarters for barbecue slathered in Oklahoma’s own Head Country BBQ sauce. You can also celebrate All Hallows’ Eve at the city’s Downtown Halloween Carnival with games, trick-or-treating and tasty snacks.

For more information: Ponca City Tourism

Sand Springs

For the ultimate pumpkin picking experience, head to Sand Springs just west of Tulsa. Plan to stop at the Sand Springs Pumpkin Patch for a variety of gourds, inflatables for the kids and seasonal movies on Saturdays. Sand Springs is also home to Pleasant Valley Farms, which hosts one of the biggest pumpkin patches in the state.  With over 90 varieties of pumpkins, a petting zoo and a ten-acre corn maze, it’s no wonder the Pleasant Valley Farms Winter Squash & Pumpkin Festival is a hit with families each October.

Sand Springs also tips its hat to Halloween during the annual Boo on Broadway event. Enter your costumed pup in the pet costume contest or build your own box for the festival’s famous coffin races. Of course, there will be plenty of sweet treats, so dress the family up in their costumes and hit Main Street for this fun and festive event.

For more information: Sand Springs Area Chamber of Commerce

Edmond

Located just north of Oklahoma City, the town of Edmond attracts visitors during autumn with a full festival roster.  If you’re looking for a traditional harvest celebration, head to downtown Edmond’s Old-Fashioned Fall Festival and the Edmond Farmers Market for fresh produce, fun and seasonal games. Fall also provides perfect weather for Edmond’s monthly street festival, Heard on Hurd, where the live music and food trucks can’t be beat.

There are also plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween in Edmond. If you prefer celebrating Halloween with a live soundtrack, the Macabret: A Spooktacular Halloween Revue at the UCO Jazz Lab puts a creepy twist on pop classics. In addition, the Edmond Historic Ghost Tours sends a tingle up the spine of those wanting to get in touch with Edmond’s history during a frightening tour of the downtown area.

For more information: Edmond Convention & Visitors Bureau

Broken Bow Area

Southeastern Oklahoma is the quintessential place to see autumn in Oklahoma at its absolute best. From the Talihina Fall Foliage Festival to the Beavers Bend Folk Festival & Craft Show at Beavers Bend State Park, this area has some of the greatest fall festivals in the state surrounded by beautiful displays of color-changing trees. Since this is bigfoot country, no fall trip would be complete without a stop at the Honobia Bigfoot Festival, a can’t-miss event for Sasquatch enthusiasts and storytellers.

Scratch “road trip” off your bucket list by traveling down the Talimena National Scenic Byway, the preeminent fall foliage drive in the state, or the Kiamichi Trace, a scenic section of Highway 271 that meanders through Choctaw Country. If you prefer to take things easy, rent one of the many cabins in the area and settle in for bonfires, hot chocolate and fresh air. Be sure to book your trip early to this popular fall hot spot!

For more information: McCurtain County Tourism Authority

Bartlesville

Head to Bartlesville during the month of October and join Main Street Bartlesville for their annual Ghost Walk, an award-winning tour that couples spooky ghost stories with the beautiful, historic buildings scattered throughout town. For family-friendly fall activities, bring the kids to Kiddie Park’s Spook-a-rama for rides, costumes and trick-or-treating.

While in Bartlesville, take a peaceful autumn stroll down the town’s Pathfinder Parkway, a 12-mile paved trail that winds through wooded areas bursting with fall color. Bring a picnic and your camera – you’ll find a beautifully arched suspension bridge over Caney River, as well as locals fishing or feeding the ducks. If you need a warm up after your time outside, stop into Frank & Lola’s for a big bowl of their famous pork green chili topped with cheddar cheese and served with a  fluffy, warm flour tortilla (Bonus: Frank & Lola’s is also rumored to be haunted)!

For more information: Bartlesville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Muskogee

The Castle of Muskogee takes celebrating the fall holidays to the next level. In the span of just two months, the castle hosts the Castle Zombie Run, the Haunted Castle Halloween Festival and the Boare’s Heade Feaste. But that isn’t all Muskogee has to offer. The Haunted History Trolley Tours take visitors around to historic and haunted sites throughout town on a spook trolley, while the Amish Country Store & Restaurant and Hattie’s House & Vintage Market offer both warm comfort food and great seasonal shopping.

For more information: Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism

Stillwater

The town of Stillwater has a little bit of everything when it comes to fall-themed fun. Visit the city’s Downtown Halloween Festival for costume contests, trick-or-treating and plenty of games. After hiking along the shores of Lake McMurtry to view the area’s fall foliage, wear your best orange gear and root for the home team at an Oklahoma State University football game.

For more information: Visit Stillwater