With Halloween around the corner and your little ones eagerly anticipating a night of candy and the chance to dress up, what better way to begin the celebration than a family trip to a pumpkin farm?
A grinning jack-o-lantern is a staple of spooky decor, and though pumpkins can be purchased at the local supermarket, heading out to a farm will provide you with a much larger selection and better prices. As a bonus, many pick-your-own (or “U-Pick”) pumpkin farms offer far more than just pumpkins—like a cornucopia of fresh seasonal produce and a full day of family fun.
At Andrew’s Scenic Acres in Halton Hills, Ont., families visit daily for the pumpkins but stay for the many attractions on offer. Kids love climbing on Straw Mountain (a huge pile of hay bales) and navigating the corn maze, while braver souls can venture into the haunted forest.
And of course there are uncountable pumpkins and gourds for Halloween and your harvest table. Pumpkins are picked off the vine and left in the field for visitors to select for themselves. Unsure of what to look for? A quick chat with the farm staff will point you in the right direction. After you’ve chosen your pumpkin, you can also stock up for a family feast by checking out the other produce and sweet treats available at the farm store.
Out west, Prairies Gardens & Greenhouses in Bon Accord, Alberta., is packed with events throughout October for the whole family. Boasting a Pumpkin Festival each weekend, guests are treated to the seven-acre Great Prairie Corn Maze—a full-day attraction with this year’s pirate theme. The maze is cut into the shape of the “Green Pearl” pirate ship. Wanderers are sent on a scavenger hunt mission locating six treasure stations throughout the maze. Finish the maze and the treasure is yours.
The younger kids aren’t left out with a smaller maze just for them, unlimited wagon rides, free scarecrow building, a haunted farm house, an enchanted forest and much more. Costumed characters wander the grounds for a perfect photo opportunity. Worked up an appetite? There’s a Pumpkin Café on site where you can relax for a bit or stop at Snack’n Jack treats for a quick bite.
Vancouver, British Columbia — Pick your own pumpkin in the Old Apple Orchard at Southlands Heritage Farm. They even offer group farm tours, perfect for the entire family.
Winnipeg, Manitoba — Explore the not-so-spooky forest trails of Storybook Lane at Deer Meadow Farms where famous kid-friendly characters dole out treats.
Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot, Quebec — At Quinn Farm you can pick your very own pumpkin during the week, check out the animals and visit the farm shop for homemade pies and preserves.
Windsor, Nova Scotia — Howard Dill Farm grows approximately 40 varieties of pumpkin, including giant ones that are put on display around the farm.
Eldon, Prince Edward Island — The Chuckwagon Farm Market boasts all manner of seasonal fruits and vegetables (including pumpkins, naturally), as well as the Belfast Corn Maze, PEI’s largest corn maze!
Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick — Find a pre-picked pumpkin at The Hunter Brothers Farm Market, stroll through the corn maze designed to celebrate the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 100th season, and then make tracks to the Field of Fun, with activities for all ages.
Northern Arm, Newfoundland — Along with the traditional pumpkin patch, Green Valley Farm has a corn maze, hay rides, farm animals and even a Halloween Zombie paintball on weekends.