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Halloween Fest returns to downtown Riverhead this month. Credit: Elizabeth Wagner

It’s the most popular time of all on the North Fork — harvest season.

Frighten (and delight) your family at Halloween Fest

Downtown Riverhead pulls out all the stops for the annual Halloween Fest, a family-friendly excuse to costume up and try to scare the daylights out of each other. The festivities start with one foot in the grave at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 23 as the annual Coffin Races pits 5-ghoul teams — each consisting of four runners wheeling a coffin and rider — against one another for the world land record. For your little goblins, the costume parade lines up at 6pm and revelers swarm downtown Riverhead, strutting their terrifying stuff and trick-or-treating all along Main Street. You can also register to decorate one of the 49 lampposts in downtown Riverhead with a Halloween or fall theme between October 13 and 20. 

Get out of pumpkin traffic and onto two wheels 

If you already have a wardrobe of close-fitting padded pants you know this, but for the rest of us, a bike ride on the North Fork is the best way to take in its natural beauty — especially in October. East End Bike Tours in Mattituck can provide whatever support you need, whether it’s just a rental and a digital map, a private tour for two, or a day-long vineyard-hop (remember to swirl and spit) with your friends.

Enjoy a glass of wine around the fire pit

On Sunday, October 24, RGNY winery hosts a Bonfire Party as part of their Harvest Series of vineyard events. RGNY’s outdoor tasting room, at 6025 Sound Ave. Riverhead, will be turned over to a celebration of the harvest, with fire pits, music and slow-cooked barbeque from Meats Meat. Wine, live music by DJ Henry and a custom blanket round out the evening’s harvest bounty. Book the four hour, $75 event at

Gather with fellow moongazers

On Saturday, October 16, the Custer Observatory in Southold marks NASA’s International Watch the Moon Night. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. with a simultaneous, world-wide observation and celebration of our nearest celestial neighbor. You’ll also get expert advice on how to best observe the moon with a minimum of equipment. At 9 p.m. sharp, all present are counted and added to the global total of moon-watchers around the world, and if skies are clear, the observatory dome remains open until midnight.

Dance (and eat!) the night away

The annual barn dance is returning to Hallockville Museum Farm this Saturday, Oct. 9 and it includes a three-course food truck dinner you won’t want to miss. With the VIP dinner ($100 donation, $40 for kids 16 and under) beginning at 4:30 p.m., you’ll get pizza from Rolling in Dough, desserts from The Treatery and beer, wine and cocktails from The Bar Truck. Then it’s time for country line dancing starting at 6:30 p.m. in the open-air Naugles Barn. All donations benefit the historic educational farm.

Country and carnival in downtown Riverhead

The 45th Annual Riverhead Country Fair returns to Downtown Riverhead Sunday, October 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Featuring craft vendors, food, carnival rides and midway games for children. With ties to Riverhead’s rich past, agricultural, homemaking and needlecraft exhibits and competitions are also held, with scores of categories to enter. Live entertainment and local craft spirits will be offered throughout the day.

Enjoy oysters at one of your favorite breweries

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. is inviting local oyster growers to shuck for guests all day long when it hosts Oyster Fest beginning at noon on Sunday, Oct. 10. Enjoy oysters along with the breweries many craft beer offerings at its tasting room on Carpenter Street in Greenport. Live music by Aqua Cherry.

Spend Sundays at the marina

Brick Cove Marina is hosting Fall Family Fun days on its ground Sundays Oct. 10 and 17 from noon to 5 p.m. Enjoy live music while drinking offerings from RGNY and Montauk Distilling Co. Peeko Oysters and Center Cuts BBQ will be serving up food. The afternoons will also include face painting, crafts and lawn games.

Halloween dinner and a movie

Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to the Suffolk Theater on Saturday, Oct. 30. Try the new menu from the team behind Ellen’s on Front and Jennie’s at Drosso’s in Greenport while watching this Halloween classic. The screening is free with a $20 food and drink purchase. The event starts at 8 p.m. and follows Halloween Fest downtown.

Family friendly frights on the farm

Krupski Farms in Peconic is up to its usually Halloween shenanigans with its haunted barn, corn maze and hayride open for the season. Pick pumpkins and enjoy a few laughs and screams at the easternmost u-pick patch on the North Fork.