As the weather cools down, classic fall events start up: Eastern State’s “Terror Behind the Walls,” the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, the Philadelphia Marathon, the Thanksgiving Day Parade. To go along with those are annual favorites like the Pulaski Day Parade, Chinatown’s night market, the Philadelphia Film Festival, and a slew of Oktoberfests. And new this year: a ghost ship on the Delaware.

Terror Behind the Walls (Sept. 20-Nov. 9, Eastern State Penitentiary). The Halloween favorite is back with six gory sections — the Blood Yard, the Infirmary, the Machine Shop, Lock Down, Quarantine, and Break Out. If you’re feeling extra-brave, you can permit actors to grab you for a more immersive experience. (215-236-3300,

Weirdo: The East Kensington Arts and Oddities Festival (Sept. 21, Kensington Community Food Co-op). Get weird at this neighborhood festival, where you can compete in a trash scarecrow building contest, check out roaming art, and enjoy Martha hoagies and Over Easy Breakfast Club BBQ. Furry friends welcome. (215-515-7887,

Brauhaus Schmitz Oktoberfest (Sept. 21 and Oct. 18 and 19, Brauhaus Schmitz and 23rd Street Armory). German dancers, Oompah music, and a liter lift competition. Try it once on South Street, then do it all again in October at 23rd Street Armory with festival tables and benches imported from Germany. (267-909-8814,

Puerto Rican Day Parade (Sept. 29, 16th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway). Philly’s largest outdoor celebration of Puerto Rican and Latino heritage celebrates more than 50 years of existence. Hundreds of dancers and performers march up the Parkway, then end the parade with a festival at American Street and Lehigh Avenue. (215-627-3100,

DesignPhiladelphia (Oct. 2-13, various locations). Peek inside design studios, watch live mural painting, reimagine the ice cream scoop, and take a guided tour of the floral installations in Fishtown as part of DesignPhiladelphia, a 10-day celebration of architecture and design. (

Ghost Ship (Oct. 4-Nov. 3, under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge). October brings a 90-foot-long, 18th century “ghost ship” to the Delaware River. This three-dimensional light- and water-based installation comes from a Romanian studio and is part of a monthlong public art exhibition that looks at migration on the river. (215-922-2386,

Site/Sound: Revealing the Rail Park (Oct. 5-19, the Rail Park). Light projections will provide a backdrop for jazz, folk, and electronic music at this Callowhill festival. Beyond the art installations, there will be taiko drumming, spoken word nights, and tours of the neighborhood. (215-440-5500,

Midtown Village Fall Festival (Noon-8 p.m. Oct. 5, between Broad and 11th Streets and Market and Spruce Streets). Shop and eat your way through this giant block party, in an area includes some of Center City’s best restaurants, bars, and boutiques. (215-670-4323,

Revolutionary Germantown Festival (Oct. 5, Grumblethorpe and Cliveden). Since 1927, folks have been reenacting 1777’s Battle of Germantown, in which Generals George Washington and William Howe squared off for control of Philadelphia. You can meet Washington and see where Howe slept at this celebration, which ends with an Oktoberfest at Grumblethorpe. (215-843-4820,

Pulaski Day Parade (Oct. 6, Benjamin Franklin Parkway). This year’s parade honoring Revolutionary War hero General Casimir Pulaski marks the 411th year since Polish settlers first came to America. Expect costumed marchers and folk dancers, as well as thousands of spectators. (215-922-1700,

YeShi Chinatown Night Market (7-11 p.m., Oct. 10, 10th and Race Streets). Chinatown’s streets close to traffic for this evening bash, which sees about 20,000 people come out to enjoy all sorts of food, from soup dumplings to pound cake to Albanian byrek pastries. Local DJs spin tunes for the party (

OutFest (Oct. 13, 13th and Locust Streets). Touted as America’s biggest National Coming Out Day event, this fest shuts down a dozen blocks of the Gayborhood every fall with drag shows, high-heel races, and bar crawls. The party is pay-as-you-go and lasts until 6 p.m. (215-875-9288,

Philadelphia Film Festival (Oct. 17-27, Philadelphia Film Center, Ritz Five and Ritz East). The artistic team at the Philadelphia Film Society spent the year scouring the world’s best film festivals to curate this year’s lineup of more than 100 films. Attendees will also hear from directors and actors. (267-239-2941,

Witches & Wizards Weekend (Oct. 18-19, Chestnut Hill). A certain lightning-scarred boy wizard and his coterie inspired this annual festival on the northwest outskirts of the city. Look forward to butterscotch soda, a costumed 5K, a mystery room, and the Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament on the sports field of Chestnut Hill College — whose turreted towers and leafy surroundings might remind you of Hogwarts. (215-247-6696,

Head of the Schuylkill Regatta (Oct. 26-27, Kelly and Fountain Green Drives). One of the largest rowing events in the country takes place on the Schuylkill. If you’re not connected to one of the competitors, who range from beginners to Olympic-caliber athletes, you can still take the race in from that weekend’s edition of Parks on Tap, located 400 meters above the finish line under the Girard Avenue and Railroad Bridges. (

Philadelphia Marathon Weekend (Nov. 23-24). Cheer on the runners, who weave through Fairmount Park and past historic landmarks like Independence Hall and Ben Franklin’s grave to the finish line at the Art Museum steps. Sunday is the main event, but Saturday features a half-marathon, an 8K, and a kids run. (

Thanksgiving Day Parade (Nov. 28, Benjamin Franklin Parkway). This is the 100th year for the parade, said to be the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country, sponsored by Gimbels department store from its inception in 1920 till Gimbels’ demise in 1986. Since then, it’s been brought to us by 6ABC. (