Caroline Bowman as Elsa in the "Frozen" North American Tour. Photo by Deen van Meer.

October’s entertainment lineup for kids is all about thrilling experiences, from live musical performances to animatronic dinosaurs and monster pumpkins. These engaging activities will send imaginations into hyperdrive and inspire creativity. Scroll on for the best events for kids this month in Pittsburgh.

1. Oct. 5-16: “Frozen,” Benedum Center

It’s the hot ticket of the season for the coolest show of the year. The touring production of “Frozen” opens the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh season for a two-week run. Expect amazing special effects, spectacular sets and all the music we know by heart sung by Elsa, Anna and Olaf. In addition to the onstage magic, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has programmed free special events like Creative Conversations with the cast and production members before select performances. There’s even a “Frozen” Dance Party on Oct. 8 (registration is full, but you can join the waitlist) and a Kids’ Night on Broadway event on Oct. 15. Tickets start at $32.

“What To Do With a Box” book cover.
“What To Do With a Box” book cover.

2. Oct. 8: Story Saturday: “What To Do With A Box,” Carnegie Museum of Art

We joke about the way kids love playing more with the big boxes their gifts come in than the toys themselves. It’s no joke. Jane Yolen’s book “What To Do With A Box” explores the idea of sparking creativity with a basic cardboard box at this month’s Story Saturday program. With s smidgen of imagination, a box can become a rocket, a sailboat or a Halloween costume. The storytelling session finishes with a hands-on art project. Best for kids ages 12 and younger. Free with museum admission.

Photo courtesy of Rivers of Steel.

3. Oct. 8: Festival of Combustion, Carrie Blast Furnaces

Following a two-year hiatus, the Festival of Combustion is back and as exhilarating as ever. Rivers of Steel hosts the celebration of industrial arts and American crafts. Check out iron pours, glassblowing demonstrations and hands-on activities and workshops. Live music, food trucks and tours are part of the day that ends with fireworks. Tickets are $20 for grownups, and admission is free for kids.

Photo courtesy of Blues Clues and You! Live on Stage.

4. Oct. 13: Blue Clues & You! Live on Stage, UPMC Events Center

Josh is working on a magical theater show, but he needs help. In Blues Clues & You! Live on Stage, Broadway-style song and dance bring the theatrical performance to new heights of laughter and enjoyment. The action-packed show at Robert Morris University is designed for kids ages 2-7. Tickets start at $39.

Photo courtesy of Fort Ligonier.

5. Oct. 14-16: Fort Ligonier Days, Ligonier

Over a three-day weekend, the annual Fort Ligonier Days celebration commemorates the key battle of the French & Indian War that took place on Oct.12, 1758. Kids will experience history in the authentically constructed fort and through rousing battle reenactments and living history demonstrations. Other activities take place around the Ligonier Diamond in the center of this picturesque town. You’ll find live music, juried crafts, wine and spirit tastings, and plenty of food. Don’t miss the parade, scheduled for 11 a.m. on Oct. 15. The festival is free, but admission is required for entry to Fort Ligonier.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Festival.

6. Oct. 15-16: Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Festival, Strip District

The monster-sized pumpkins are just one reason to visit the Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Festival at 3 Crossings, between 28th and 29th streets. Sign up for the pie eating contest, watch expert pumpkin carvers at work and check out the hay bale graffiti artists. New this year is the Pedal Tractor Pull where kids ages 3-8 can drag a weighted sled behind a pedal-powered tractor. Superhero and princess characters offer cute photo ops, too. Don’t miss the crazy Pumpkin Drop that releases giant pumpkins into a pool of water from 140 feet in the air. Admission is free.

Photo courtesy of the National Aviary.

7. Oct. 15-16 and 22-23: Owl-O-Ween, National Aviary

Who-o-o’s looking for fun? This owl-themed Halloween party offers a full day of activities. Come in costume for trick-or-treating and receive a goody bag of cool stuff. Head to story time and an owl meet-and-greet. Visit the Bat Habitat for an educational talk. And don’t miss the chance to work on an owl craft to take home. Owl-O-Ween activities are included with Aviary admission.

Photo courtesy of Disney.

8. Oct. 19: “Hocus Pocus” in Concert, Heinz Hall

When kids accidentally awaken a trio of 17th-century witches, they must outwit the weird sisters before it’s too late. The 1993 movie has grown into a favorite Halloween viewing treat for longtime fans. Introduce your little goblins to the thrilling silliness of “Hocus Pocus” in Concert with this special screening that features the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performing the score live. Tickets start at $25.

Photo by Paul Selvaggio.

9. Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30: ZooBoo, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Kids can dress up in their best Halloween costumes to follow the Trick-or-Treat Trail at the annual ZooBoo festivities. Themed features are geared to little ones with not-too-scary haunt spots and creepy craft activities. March in the spooktacular parade to compete in the costume contest. And be sure to check out the zoo animals who put on a special show with their Halloween treats. ZooBoo activities and candy are free with zoo admission.

Photo courtesy of Jurassic World Live Tour.

10. Oct. 27-30: Jurassic World Live, PPG Arena

Dinosaur-obsessed kids will be enthralled by the spectacular Jurassic World Live show. Based on the movie franchise, the show involves more than 24 life-size dinosaurs operated by animatronics and performers. The 40-foot T-rex towers over Gyrospheres rolling through the dense jungle. You’ll be wowed by special effects, breathtaking stunts and action-packed fight sequences. Tickets start at $21.

14 bonus events:

Through Oct. 30: Phantom Fall Fest, Kennywood Park

Oct. 1: Hay Day, South Park

Oct. 1: Life with a Shawnee Family, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village

Oct. 2: Riverview Park Day, Riverview Park

Oct. 2: Youth Film Fest, Carnegie Museum of Art

Oct. 5 and 22: Preschool Adventures: Creepy Crawly, Carnegie Science Center

Oct. 8-30: Blooms Under the Big Top, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Oct. 9: Kids Day, Schenley Plaza

Oct. 10: STEAM Fest, Pittsburgh Zoo

Oct. 13: Teen Night: Thursday the 13th, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Oct. 15: 40th Annual Latin America & Caribbean Festival, University of Pittsburgh campus

Oct. 16: Family Day, Allegheny Commons

 Oct. 27: Spy Ninjas Live, UPMC Events Center

Oct. 29: Super Science Saturday: Booseum Trick-or-Treat, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Sally Quinn

Sally Quinn is a Pittsburgh-based editor and writer who writes about food, entertainment, kid stuff, pop culture, cocktails!