With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to scare up the perfect pumpkin. And while you could easily grab a gourd from your local super market, why not treat your little ghouls and goblins to a trip to a pumpkin patch. From carnival games and super slides to petting zoos and face painting—there so much more than just pumpkin picking going on at the best pumpkin patches in Los Angeles.

mrbones2photo: Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch
This pumpkin patch fixture (and pick of the stars) moved last year and is now on the West LA College campus and is twice the size. What hasn’t changed is the huge petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, a straw maze, and a super slide. If you’re looking to stay in town, have a blast and pick up a pumpkin all on your way home from school, this is your stop.

Make sure your baby bronco-riders try out the gigantic rocking horse and pumpkin bounce house so they’ll wear themselves out before it’s time to hit the hay. Take advantage of the one-stop shopping at Mr. Bones as well, and pick up any tool imaginable for carving and decorating your pumpkin and a ton of spooky decor. They also have a master carver onsite on select dates, in case you want to get something impressive for your home, as well as some DIY gourds.
With a patch that has this much going on, it’s no surprise that they charge for entrance on weekends. But not to worry, all fees go towards your purchases. Sign up online for weekly coupons and specials.

10100 Jefferson Blvd.
Culver City
Dates: Oct 1-31. Sunday to Thursday from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday & Saturday from 9 a.m-9 p.m.
Cost: Free on weekdays. Weekends $3/child and $5/adult.
Online: mrbonespumpkinpatch.com

underwoodphoto: Ana P. via Yelp

Underwood Family Farms
The fall festival here is not to be missed, with a different theme each weekend. You’ll see acres of more varieties of pumpkins than you ever knew existed: Magic Lanterns, Aladdins, Howden Biggies, Gold Rush, Luminas, Cinderellas, Big Macs, Atlantic Giants, Baby Pams and Mystics, Jack be Littles, Lil Pumpkemons and Fairytales. The festivities include pumpkin carving demonstrations and elaborate pumpkin displays. Kids can pick their own from the farm (and pick other fruits and veggies, too) or select one of the amazing pre-picked varieties. Weekend admission includes pig races, tractor-drawn wagon rides, the corn maze, Craig’s chicken show, the corn stalk labyrinth, combine slide, animal exhibits, live entertainment, and more.

3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Dates: Oct 1–31 from 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Cost: Weekends are $15, weekdays are $6. Games and attractions are available at an additional cost.
Online: underwoodfamilyfarms.com

o-1photo: Lisa M. via Yelp

Live Oak Canyon Ranch
If you’re looking for a bit more rustic and back-to-nature, our new favorite spot is the Pumpkin Patch at Live Oak Canyon Ranch (which we learned about on a tip from Red Tricycle reader Dianna Hennessy) which has plenty of oak trees to provide both shade and great picnic spots. There’s a u-pick patch and sunflower fields and lots of farm animals to meet at the petting zoo, aviary and pony rides. There are also games, a zip line, hayrides, a corn maze and lots more to keep kids busy.

Live Oak Canyon Rd. at the 10 Freeway
Dates: Sep 24-Oct 31; hours vary.
Cost: $3 on weekdays. Weekends in October are $5/person.
Online: pumpkins.liveoakcanyon.com

shawnspumpkins1photo: Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch

Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch
Shawn’s is decked out in corn stalks, straw bales, and there are oodles of all sizes of pumpkins as far as the eye can see. Be sure to check out the wide selection of rare gourds and squashes — making your visit here just a little bit country in the heart of the city. Also available are dozens of pumpkin carving kits and knives to fashion your pumpkins into festive Jack-O’-Lanterns. Kids will make a mad dash for the bouncers, ball house, hand-powered train, face painting, train rides, petting zoo, Orbotron, “bungee” jumping and ponies. Be sure to check their website for a full list of attraction times; not every one is operating each day.

Locations in Hollywood and West LA.
Dates: Both locations are open from Oct 1-31. Check website for hours at each location.
Cost: Free admission. Tickets for rides and games ($3-$9) sold separately.
Online: shawnspumpkinpatch.com

photo: Kat B. via Yelp

Tina’s Pumpkin Patch
This is an easy stop for Valley residents, as it’s right behind the Galleria, so you can swing by for your pumpkin after shopping. With a petting zoo, pony rides, giant slide, straw maze and little train, this convenient spot (located under a giant tent, so even when it’s a hot or raining you stay comfortable) is a great one to bring your little pumpkin for a festive gourd picking outing that’s more than just picking one out from your local grocery store. But just as convenient.

4827 Sepulveda Blvd.
Sherman Oaks
Dates: Oct 1-31; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
Cost: Free admission. Activities are $3-$5.
Online: tinaspumpkinpatch.com

Tapia Bros Farm Stand and Pumpkin Patch
This one is another tip from a reader, Manuela Testolini. You guys rock! Otherwise we never would have visited this cool farm fresh market stand that’s well knows for corn, tomatoes and strawberries, and in October adds a pumpkin patch. Kids can meet the chickens, goats and rabbits that live on the farm, and it’s cool to pick your pumpkins out at one of the last farm-to-stand spots left in the Valley. Plus, you can stock up on some of the tastiest fruits and veggies you’ve had in ages, and snack on the fresh roasted corn. There are a few activities for kids, like a jumper, hay ride and corn maze. And for those looking for a giant pumpkin for photo ops, look no further.

5251 Hayvenhurst Ave.
Dates: Sep 30-Oct 30 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Closes at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Cost: Free admission. Free parking. Activities have a small fee.
Facebook: facebook.com/Tapia-Bros-Farm-126868084034172/timeline/

10373909965_1ed1a46711_zphoto: Mike Souza via Creative Commons

Forneris Farms
Find perfectly plump, fresh from the vine pumpkins in a real farm setting at the Fall Harvest Festival. They consider their patch the most beautiful in LA County, and we won’t argue. Kids will enjoy taking a narrated tractor-pulled train ride around the farm, getting “lost” amid the towering stalks of corn in the 4 acre corn maze and playing throughout the giant hay pyramid. If you have smaller kids, try a bounce on the great pumpkin jumper, or if it’s a weekend, head to the petting zoo or go on a pony ride. (Note: The farm accepts cash only. There is an ATM available.)

15200 Rinaldi St.
Mission Hills
Dates: Oct 1-31. Festival is open weekends from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; weekdays from 2-5 p.m. The pumpkin patch is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
Cost: The Harvest Festival is $15/person
Online: fornerisfarms.com

photo: Suzy S. via Yelp

Cottone & Sons Pumpkins
South Bay residents need look no further for pumpkin purchasing festivities. If you’re looking to stay local, there are plenty of pumpkins to pick from along with everything else you need to decorate the house, like straw bales, corn stalks, Indian corn, gourds and crafts. But that’s for you. For there kids there are pony rides, animals to meet and feed and jumpers to get out all that pre-trick or treating energy. The giant dino is a particular favorite. Check the website for a coupon for $1 off any pumpkin before you go!

21573 Madrona Ave.
Dates: Oct. 10–30 daily from 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. daily.
Cost: Free admission.
Online: cottoneandsonspch.com

Gilchrest Farms Harvest Festival
Horse drawn wagon rides are the big draw at this Harvest Festival.  On weekdays you can take advantage of the quieter atmosphere and still enjoy the pumpkin patch, straw bale maze, petting zoo and farm store.  (Here’s a tip: Monday and Tuesday are best, as other weekdays they have school visits).  Then weekends things really get hopping with activities like the horse drawn wagon rides, pony rides, face painting, pumpkin decorating, fall farm crafts, live entertainment, petting zoo, loads of yummy foods and the kid pleasing goat milking demonstrations at 9 a.m. Plus, if you don’t trust your own photog abilities, there’s a professional photographer available for sittings in the patch!

30116 Bouquet Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita
Dates: Oct. 1–31 daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
Cost: Free admission and parking. Ticket prices range from $3-$6 per activity.
Online: gilchristfarm.com/harvest-festival

mcgrathsphoto: McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch

McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch

If you’ve ever driven up the 101 through Ventura in October, you’ve probably seen McGrath’s orange hillside full of bright, big pumpkin, and now it’s time you drop in and see why this not-too-commercial or crowded patch has become a family favorite. In addition to picking your pumpkin straight from the patch, you and your family can check out the farm animals, jump on a hay ride, get your face painted, carve a pumpkin (or see a pumpkin carving demonstration) and take a ride on a pony. The farm suggests that you call to see which activities are taking place on the day you’d like to visit. The BBQ and bakery goodies aren’t to be missed, so come hungry!

5156 McGrath St.
Dates: Open daily in October from 9 a.m. to dusk.
Cost: Free admission.
Online: mcgrathstreetpumpkinpatch.com

Tanaka Farmsphoto: Dawna via Yelp

Tanaka Farms
This one is a little bit of a drive but totally worth it if you are looking for another farm that’s a down-home good time. Tanaka Farms’ U-Pick pumpkin patch in Irvine is open through Halloween and at this farm you can pick your own pumpkin (and other veggies to bring home for dinner) right off the vine. Take a wagon ride around this 30 acre farm, visit the sheep, goats and alpacas, and saunter through their corn maze. You can also vote for your favorite scarecrow in the scarecrow contest!

And we’ve got a tip for visiting Tanaka this hot fall; there’s no drinking water available, so fill up your bottles before coming (or water is available for purchase).

5380 3/4 University Dr.
Dates: Sept. 29-Oct 31 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Cost: Admission is $2, the wagon ride is $5 and the petting zoo is $3 and games are various prices.
Online: tanakafarms.com

Where does your family go for the perfect fall pumpkins? Got another favorite pumpkin patch to add to our list? Tell us in the comments below.

—Christina Fiedler