Updated: Dec 10, 2019
October...Halloween! For many of us the cooler fall weather signifies that the holidays will soon be upon us, family gatherings and all. Kids and adults alike enjoy Halloween, and if you're anything like me, you love making a day out of going to the pumpkin patch. Decorating to ensure your home is part of someone's trick-or-treating adventure is on the list, too, and it all starts with the right pumpkin.
Going to the pumpkin patch was something we did as kids, and my parents always made the holidays special for us. It's something I will always enjoy and one day I hope to take my own kids to the pumpkin patch. Keeping family traditions alive as well making new ones is important. It's a large part of what makes the holidays so special.
Pumpkins are just like any other vegetable (or fruit) and as we all know it can be really hard to find one without a blemish or to find just the right shape. Some pumpkins already have mold growing on them, so be sure to inspect your potential pumpkins well!
I've always thought that letting the kids pick their own pumpkins makes it that much more fun (within reason, obviously, set size limits and such). It can get a little tricky when you've got more than one kid doing the picking, but I still remember how important it was to my siblings and I that we each had our own pumpkins for Halloween. All those pumpkins will need to be carved, which can be a lot of work depending on how complicated you want your carving to be. I've definitely limited the number of pumpkins I bring home so I don't end up carving pumpkins all night long!
There's a marked difference between a pumpkin patch on an actual farm and those little parking lot pumpkin stations that seem to be in every vacant lot around this time of year. Honestly, though, babies and young kids really won't know the difference, and it's not always convenient for parents to make the grand trek out to an actual farm for the authentic experience. For those of us in San Diego County that can appreciate the real farm experience, there are a several options for authentic pumpkin patches. Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center is a great choice. While they do actually grow pumpkins on site, the sheer volume of visitors forces them to have pumpkins shipped in as well, and the same goes for most pumpkin patch farms. Other good pumpkin patch farms include Lavender Hills in Fallbrook, Harbour Farm in Ramona, and Oma's Pumpkin Patch in Lakeside. If I've left out your favorites, let me know in the comments!
One year, I got a little carried away at Bates Nut Farm and got 100 pound pumpkin (left picture). I needed a wheel barrow just to get it to the truck! Then I spent hours gutting and carving it, after which I was finally able to lift it. The Great Pumpkin was a huge hit; everyone loved it.
The picture below shows how the pumpkin looked after all the hard work was done. The theme was Peanuts: the little pumpkin has Lucy on it and the Great Pumpkin has Charlie Brown and Snoopy sitting together with a full moon in the background. Our dog is also named Lucy - she's small enough that she could have slept in that pumpkin, but she wasn't having it. You can see by the picture we got that she wasn't impressed by the suggestion!
So go get out there and find that perfect pumpkin - enjoy your Halloween, make some new memories, and stay safe out there!