Top 20 things to do on Big Island for Oct. 5-11: Ghost stories, brews, art, ancient Hawaiian games and much more

Listen to this Article
5 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

The next week on the Big Island is packed full of events that the entire family can enjoy.

You can get into the spirit of the Halloween season with spooky ghost stories from Hawai‘i or learn how to play a pre-contact Hawaiian game involving a loop and ball.

There’s also a festival featuring works from more than 400 participants promoting inclusive entrepreneurship in the arts and you can space out and geek out with astronomy, robotics and natural sciences during AstroDay in Kona.

If you want to wet your whistle with a few other spirits, there’s a brewfest in Hilo you might want to check out, and if live theater and music are your jam, we’ve got you covered. You can even buy a live Christmas tree online already and there’s an event just for teens in Hilo.

Here is our top 20 things to do on the Big Island for the week of Oct. 5-11.

No. 1 — Lopaka Kapanuiʻs Ghost Stories of Hawai‘i (Waimea, Oct. 6)

Courtesy image

Join Kahilu Theatre, located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, for an evening of spooky stories just in time for the Halloween season as master storyteller Lopaka Kapanui tells ghostly tales from Hawai‘i from ancient times to present day, including spirits, curses, possessions, night marchers, mo‘o wahine, the goddess Pele and more.


Sometimes known as “the ghost guy,” Native Hawaiian storyteller Kapanui makes a business of leading guests into some of the darkest, spookiest places in Hawai‘i.

The event begins at 7 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, which start at $35, click here.

No. 2 — Palaʻie (Loop and Ball) Demonstration (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Oct. 11)

Courtesy photo

Join park rangers and staff from Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association from 10 a.m. to noon in the ʻŌhiʻa Wing at the Kīlauea Visitor Center to make and play with pala‘ie, one of the many interesting games from pre-contact Hawai’i.

This event is part of the national park’s ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural programs. It is free to attend, but park entrance fees apply.

No. 3 — Abled Hawai‘i Artists 16th Annual Art Festival (Hilo, Oct. 7)

Hawai‘i County celebrates a renaissance of inclusion in the arts from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Prince Kūhiō Plaza, located at 111 Puainako St. The free event promotes disability awareness and pride by celebrating the spectrum of creativity while promoting inclusive entrepreneurship in the arts.


The festival is the largest celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act on the Big Island and will bring together more than 400 participants for a day of inclusive music, performing arts, visual arts, healing arts, hands-on demonstrations, silent auction and more.

For more information, email [email protected] or check out the Facebook event page.

No. 4 — AstroDay (Kailua-Kona, Oct. 7)

Big Island Now file photo

Learners of all ages are invited to Kona Commons Shopping Center, located at 74-5450 Makala Boulevard, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for an entertainment-filled day of astronomy, robotics and natural sciences.

Sponsored by the Maunakea Observatories, this free open-air event is an opportunity for the community to meet with scientists and educators and learn how Hawai‘i contributes to new and amazing discoveries in astronomy through a variety of fun and informative science demos and activities. There also will be giveaways, while supplies last, and prizes.

For more information, click here.

No. 5 — Street Eats, A Kailua Village Food Truck Festival (Kailua-Kona, Oct. 7)

Courtesy image

Ali‘i Drive will close to vehicle traffic as food trucks, food vendors and pop-up restaurants from around the Big Island line up in from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering a wide variety of cuisine options.

Mac and cheese, pansit, ginger fried chicken, gourmet hot dogs, banana bread, soft peanut brittle, manapua, pork hash, shave ice, tacos and much more is on the menu from the various participants. There also will be live entertainment and hula performances throughout the day.

For more information, visit the Kailua Village Business Improvement District website.

No. 6 — Free indoor climbing (Hilo, Oct. 7-8)

Courtesy image

Adventure Centers Hawai‘i is teaming up with Big Island Climbing, located at 126 Keawe St., for this event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day in celebration of their new partnership aimed at making bouldering and other climbing activities accessible to all keiki and young adults in Hilo, regardless of their means.

The goal is to improve physical fitness, boost self-confidence, enhance academic performance, promote inclusivity and create a strong sense of community pride.

For more information, click here.

No. 7 — “The Play That Goes Wrong” (Kealakekua, opening Oct. 6)

Courtesy image

The Aloha Theatre, located at 79-7384 Hawai‘i Belt Road, presents this hilarious Broadway smash “play within a play” hit that tells the story of opening night of the Cornley Drama Society’s newest production, “The Murder at Haversham Manor,” when things go from bad to embarrassingly worse.

This 1920s whodunit has everything you never wanted in a show — an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead and intrepid actors who can’t remember their lines.

The production is appropriate for ages 8 and older and runs for three weekends through Oct. 22. Concessions, including beer and wine, will be available for purchase at the theatre. For more information or to purchase tickets, which start at $10, click here.

No. 8 — “Rich & Deep” concert (Waimea, Oct. 8)

Courtesy image

The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra presents its 2023/24 season-opening MasterWorks concert beginning at 2 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre, located at 67-1186 Lindsey Road.

Conducted by artistic director and conductor Brian Dollinger, the orchestra will present works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Wagner and Antonio Salieri.

Tickets start at $22. For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, click here. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the Kahilu Theatre box office at 808-885-6868 or visiting the box office in person from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

No. 9 — “Once on the Island” (Hilo, opening Oct. 6)

Image from Facebook

The Friends of the Palace Theater are proud to present the 21st annual fall musical production, which tells the story of peasant girl Ti Moune. It’s a tale of love, bravery and strength of a girl who feels like she was destined for something more.

The family-friendly musical production with a live band is directed by Jennie Kaneshiro and Jennifer Eng. It plays for three weekends from Oct. 6-22 at the historic Palace Theater, located at 38 Haili St.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets, which are $10 for keiki, $25 general admission and $35 for priority orchestra area seating in advance. Tickets are $5 more the day of the show.

No. 10 — Wai‘ono Brewfest (Hilo, Oct. 7)

Screenshot from website

This first-ever beer festival presented by Laupaʻi will feature more than 50 drink selections from 30-plus breweries, various food vendors featuring dishes from local chefs and food trucks, live entertainment, yard games and much more from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Naniloa Driving Range located at 120 Banyan Drive.

Must be 21 or older to attend and bring a valid government-issued photo ID. Tickets start at $39, with extra drink tabs for just $3 after tabs are pau.

Click here for more information and purchase tickets.

No. 11 — Trivia Night! hosted by Dan Lewer (Pāpaʻaloa, Oct. 5)

Image from Facebook

Come join the fun from 5:30 to about 7:30 p.m. at Pāpaʻaloa Country Store and Cafe, located at 35-2032 Old Māmalahoa Highway, and show off your knowledge through multiple rounds of intriguing questions and fierce competition hosted by history teacher, traveler and author Dan Lewer.

The winning team, which can have up to four people, will receive a special surprise grand prize for the winner. Questions will address several categories such as history, science, Hawaiian culture, pop culture and other random topics.

Trivia night is every first Thursday of each month. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.

No. 12 — Tomi Isobe’s Blue Dogs live (Kawaihae, Oct. 5)

Image from Facebook

Make a trip to the Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, and experience a wide variety of music including rock, R&B and funk with this dynamic blues guitarist and the Blue Dogs band from 6 to 9 p.m.

Isobe has performed for more than 40 years around the globe. He and his band also feature covers of artists such as Santana, Stevie Wonder and Stevie Ray Vaughn, as well as blues artists including BB King, Muddy Waters and T-Bone Walker.

Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $13 at the door; children 12 and younger are free. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Blue Dragon Tavern website.

No. 13 — TEENRayJAH 2023 (Hilo, Oct. 7)

Image from Facebook

Organized by Deeply Rooted Productions, this one-of-a-kind massive get-together and social gathering for teens will offer a place where they can express themselves in an authentic way and party without drugs or alcohol.

Tickets to attend the unique movement for Big Island youth start at $10. The event will be from 4 to 10 p.m. at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, located at 323 Manono St.

To purchase tickets, click here.

No. 14 — First Friday Art Walk October Collaboration (Hilo, Oct. 6)

Image from Facebook

This month’s artist collaboration exhibit features works from the dynamic duo of Reyn Grillo and Laurie Bauers from 6 p.m. to pau at The Exhibit, Gallery of Art and Events, located beyond the bar at Hilo Town Tavern at 168 Keawe St.

Grillo and Bauers are owners and artists at Electric Jungle Tattoo shop in Pahoa. Come support their art while you’re having fun on First Friday in Downtown Hilo.

No. 15 — Grand Slam live (Kilauea Military Camp, Oct. 7)

Image from Facebook

The Lava Lounge, located at 99-252 Crater Rim Drive in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, will be rocking from 6 to 9 p.m. for this first Saturday monthly event.

Come on up to the coolest venue on the Big Island for some classic rock and blues — and don’t forget your dancing shoes. Cover charge is $10. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.

No. 16 — Super Secret Taco Tuesday Comedy Show (Kailua-Kona, Oct. 10)

Image from Facebook

What better combination is there than tacos and laughter? Kona Elks Lodge No. 2616, located at 75-170 Hualālai Road, will be serving up tasty Mexican favorites from 6 to 7 p.m., with standup comedy from 7 to 8:30 p.m. An open mic session will follow.

Click here to purchase tickets in advance.

No. 17 — Friday Latin Dance Party (Kailua-Kona, Oct. 6)

Image from Facebook

Hosted by Gerry Colyn and Dance Kona Hawai‘i, this event promises to get you on your feet and grooving to Latin music. Hosted by VFW Auxiliary Post No. 12122, located at 74-5543 Kaiwi St., everyone is invited.

Starting at 7 p.m., salsa lessons will be available for those who attend with the dance party to follow from 8 to 10 p.m. A $5 donation is appreciated for the lessons and there is a $10 cover charge for the dance party.

No. 18 — Haunted Dollhouse drag show (Kailua-Kona, Oct. 7)

Image from Facebook

Pull out that spooky drag or don your best Halloween costume and help start out the spooky season in style starting at 10 p.m. at MyBar Kona, located at 74-5606 Luhia St.

The show will feature drag performances by special guests Sable Scities, Alex Lee, Tora Hamstring and Palehua. There is a $5 cover charge, but those who come in costume will be admitted free.

No. 19 — Ms. Demeanor & the Felons live (Kawaihae, Oct. 6)

Image from Facebook

This soul music band will get the party started and keep it rocking from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Blue Dragon Tavern, located at 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, covering soul and R&B classics that are sure to keep the dance floor packed all night.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $13 at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Blue Dragon Tavern website.

No. 20 — Island of Hawai‘i YMCA Christmas tree sale (online through Nov. 3)

Image from Facebook

The online Christmas tree store opened Oct. 2, offering quality holiday conifers from the Pacific Northwest including grand fir, noble fir, Nordman fir and Kirk elf along with fresh wreaths and cedar garland.

Trees purchased online can be picked up Nov. 20-22. There also will be a walk-in tree lot at the Hilo YMCA, located at 300 W. Lanikaula St., open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Nov. 24-26 and 3 to 8 p.m. Nov. 27, or until trees are sold out. Quantities are limited.

Free photos with Santa will also be available from 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 24-25

For more information, call 808-935-3721 or click here.

Note: Big Island Now has been following the progress of the Big Island’s ultimate singing competition Hilo Idol since it began six weeks ago, including publishing the names of the top three winners from each quarterfinal round each week in our Top 20 things to do. The quarterfinals ended Oct. 4, with semifinals beginning Oct. 18.

Winners of Round 5 were: Bridge Hartman, first place; Joshua Lozada, second place; and Kaleb Dean Kaleikaumaka Yamasaki, third place.

Watch next week for the winners of the final quarterfinal round and keep an eye on Big Island Now for more information about the semifinals and grand finale, which will be on Black and White Night on Nov. 4 in Downtown Hilo. For more information, check out the Levitation Entertainment Instagram page.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments