Heading to a pumpkin patch in October is a tradition in our family. We look forward to picking our pumpkins, navigating a corn maze and taking a hayride.
Thing is, pumpkin patches have come a long way since I was a kid. Even the smallest pumpkin patch these days is likely to offer more than just pumpkins. Many farms create elaborate harvest festivals that could occupy families for an entire day.
After having our share of pumpkin patch meltdowns and mishaps, we’ve learned a thing or two. Here’s how we keep our visits a success these days.
Will you be picking pumpkins off the vine? Or choosing among those already picked? Aside from pumpkins, what other activities (if any) are available? Common pumpkin patch activities may include food, live entertainment, petting zoos, corn mazes, face painting, hayrides and more.
Before you go, check out the website of the patch you plan to visit. Most have complete details, hours, pricing and maps so you know what to expect.
Seek out special discounts & coupons.
Once you’ve discovered what’s included with your admission price and what’s not, you can seek out discounts or special offers. Many pumpkin patches offer reduced fees, special free days or even online coupons.
Know when to go.
Pumpkin patches around here get pretty crazy – worse as Halloween gets closer. We’ve discovered that weekend crowds are almost unbearable (think amusement park-type lines for almost every activity).
If heading to the patch on a weekday is an option, go for it – especially if you have little ones. FYI: Some activities are only open on weekends. If weekends are a must, plan to arrive right when the patch opens.
Bring the basics.
Many pumpkin patches and farms operate on a cash-only basis, so make sure you bring enough.
October in L.A. is often still unbearably hot; in other parts of the country it’s already breezy and quite cool. In either case, dress for the weather and be prepared for the kids to get dirty.
Don’t try to do it all.
Take your time and enjoy the experience. How? The Explorers and I talk about what activities are available before we go. Then we pick a few favorites and don’t stress when we arrive about trying to do it all.
Leave time for play.
Amidst all the array of pumpkin patch “extras,” it might be hard to remember that most kids prefer to keep it simple. The fun is in the playing, so make sure you allow time for it. Most pumpkin patches have play areas designed just for it!
Eat something special.
If you’re picking pumpkins at a farm, try something fresh and yummy, like corn on the cob or fresh cider.
Don’t forget the pumpkins!
Hands down, picking pumpkins is what my kids most enjoy about going to the pumpkin patch. They love seeing all the shapes, colors and sizes of pumpkins (and gourds, oh my!).
Bring a camera.
There will undoubtedly be plenty of moments you’ll want to capture. Just don’t forget to put the camera down and enjoy your adventure, too.
If you’re like me, the pumpkin patch can be a little overwhelming – especially if you have small kids. Remember why you came (to celebrate fall!), take your time and enjoy it!