This October, Pittsburgh will become a mecca for ghastly ghouls, world-class contemporary art, rockin’ beers, secret spaces and more. And we can’t contain our excitement.

Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero, 1968. Courtesy of Image Ten.

1. Romero Lives: Month of October all around Pittsburgh

Practice your best zombie stare because George Romero’s iconic horror films are returning to haunt the places where they began. It’s been 50 years since the first zombies lumbered out of an Evans City cemetery in “Night of the Living Dead” and fans worldwide are still mourning the auteur’s recent passing. What better way to honor Romero’s groundbreaking legacy than with a monthlong fright-fest? Oozing with dozens of events at 30-plus venues, Romero Lives will satisfy every wicked craving. From a museum symposium and Living Dead Weekend, to the world’s largest zombie gathering, it’s all here. On Oct. 6, see the 4K restoration of “Night of the Living Dead” and party with cast members at the Byham. And if your name is Barbara, you should be very afraid.

Kill Off, Genevieve Clay-Smith, 2017.

2. ReelAbilities Film Festival at SouthSide Works Cinema: October 3-9

A man awakens from a coma speaking an unrecognizable language. A mentally disabled woman and a Sudanese refugee bond over their love of krumping. A rock guitarist faces cerebral palsy while pursuing his musical dream. These are just some of the powerful stories that will shine on screen. Showcasing 16 films from nine countries, ReelAbilities highlights the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people living with different abilities. Don’t miss opening night featuring Nick Kelly’s Irish film, “The Drummer and The Keeper,” portraying an unexpected bond between teens facing Bipolar disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. Award-winning films will be augmented by a pop-up exhibit and compelling conversations with directors, disability rights activists, Special Olympics athletes and more. View a schedule and buy tickets.

The Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania.
The Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania.

3. Doors Open Pittsburgh: October 6-7

Want to explore some of Pittsburgh coolest spaces, normally off-limits to mere ordinary citizens? No need to assemble your own Ocean’s Eleven-style crew and break in; the third annual Doors Open will let you inside private clubs, government offices, theaters, artist spaces and more — with just a ticket. Pittsburgh residents and architecture buffs can build their own itineraries of 50 spaces, exploring the hallowed halls and secret spaces of Downtown, like The Frick Building, City Council Chambers and the convention center roof over two days. This year, the North Side is getting in on the welcoming action, with Calvary United Methodist Church and the Mattress Factory Artist Residence flinging their doors open. Buy tickets.

Courtesy of UpPrize.

4. UpPrize Community Showcase at Carnegie Science Center: October 11

What would you do with $300,000 to make Pittsburgh a better place? Meet social innovators making a big impact in our region — and be inspired by their game-changing ideas — at the UpPrize Community Showcase. More than 100 talented teams submitted proposals to UpPrize’s 2018 Great Solutions Competition, and five finalists remain contenders for these substantial grants. Each finalist will present a demonstration of products designed to improve the missions of nonprofits or lives of marginalized populations. Be there when the winners are announced, enjoy a networking reception and celebrate a community of social innovators unique to southwestern Pennsylvania. Organized by The Forbes Funds, the challenge is generously underwritten by the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Register now.

Mapplethorpe, Ondi Timoner, 2018.

5. Reel Q at the Harris Theater: October 11-14

The region’s only LGBTQ+ film festival is back with an eclectic repertoire of flicks you can’t see anywhere else. Reel Q kicks off with a fab opening night screening of Andrew Fleming’s heartwarming comedy “Ideal Home,” starring Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd as a couple coping with their precocious 10-year-old grandson. There’s a story, setting and cast to captivate everyone — from a biopic about iconic NYC photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and a disastrous Thanksgiving comedy, to a documentary portraying transgender American troops and the tale of two women and their baby-daddy. Taking the fun off screen will be an opening night after-party, Girls Night Out event at THERE UltraLounge and a closing night bash at Images. Buy tickets.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.