Halloween is coming and it’s time to scare up the perfect pumpkin. While you could simply grab a gourd from your local supermarket, you need the photo op, magic and holiday anticipation that comes with a trip to the pumpkin patch. From farm picking to city lots with carnival games & super slides—you’ll find the perfect pumpkin experience for your little ghouls and goblins below!

photo: Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch via Facebook

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch
This pumpkin patch fixture (and pick of the stars) moved from Hollywood to Culver City, where it is now twice the size of the old space. 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.

With a patch that has this much going on, it’s no surprise that they charge for entrance on weekends (and Friday evening). But with admission, grownups get pumpkin bucks towards their pumpkin purchase and kids get 5 activity passes.  Remember how we said the stars come here?  It’s for the valet parking and VIP passes, which aren’t just for the famous, but for anyone who doesn’t want to brave lines and crowds, and includes expedited entry, discounts, access to a VIP area with private bathrooms, free chilled water, a secure area to store personal items and more (for $45).

Dates: Oct 6-30. Sunday to Thursday from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday & Saturday from 9 a.m-9 p.m.
Cost: Free on weekdays. Friday evenings are $5/child and $10 for adults and weekends are $15 for everyone over 2. There’s also a petite patch new at Platform LA this year, a little boo-tique, perfect for smaller kids who are crowd shy.

10100 Jefferson Blvd.
Culver City
Online: mrbonespumpkinpatch.com

photo: 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.  Check the website for discount coupons and to find out what the theme is for that weekend!

Dates: Sep 30-Oct 31 from 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Cost: Weekends are $12-$20, weekdays are $6. Games and attractions are available at an additional cost.

3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Moorpark
Online: underwoodfamilyfarms.com

photo: The Pumpkin Factory via Facebook

The Pumpkin Factory at Live Oak Canyon Ranch
If you’re looking for a bit more rustic and back-to-nature, our new favorite spot is the Pumpkin Factory 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.

Dates: Sep 23-Oct 31; hours vary.
Cost: $3 on weekdays. Friday evenings as well as Sat & Sun are $5/person.

Live Oak Canyon Rd. at the 10 Freeway
Yucaipa
Online: pumpkins.liveoakcanyon.com

photo: Ally R. via Yelp

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.

Dates: Both locations are open from Oct 6-31. Hours are usually 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m., but check the website for your location and date before visiting.
Cost: Free admission. Tickets for rides and games ($3-$6) sold separately.

Locations in Hollywood and West LA.
Online: shawnspumpkinpatch.com

photo: Lori Losey via Forneris Farms Facebook

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.)

Dates: Sep 30-Oct 31. Festival is open weekends from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; weekdays from 1-5 p.m. The pumpkin patch is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
Cost: Farm, pumpkin patch and parking are free. Harvest Festival activities admission is $15/person and includes corn maze, train ride and Farm Frolic admission. Pony rides, petting zoo and face painting are extra.

15200 Rinaldi St.
Mission Hills
Online: fornerisfarms.com

photo: Ryan Barnes Photography

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. And, new this year are the pig races! Plus, if you don’t trust your own photog abilities, there’s a professional photographer available for sittings in the patch.

Dates: Sep 30-Oct 31 daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
Cost: Free admission and parking, and it’s also free to watch the goat milking and pig races. Ticket prices range from $5-$10 per activity.

30116 Bouquet Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita
Online: gilchristfarm.com/harvest-festival

photo: Alice H. via Yelp

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 available weekends in October aren’t to be missed, so come hungry!

Dates: Open daily in October from 9 a.m. to dusk.
Cost: Free admission, various prices for activities, when available.

5156 McGrath St.
Ventura
Online: mcgrathstreetpumpkinpatch.com

photo: Brian K. 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. Your kids won’t want to miss the pumpkin cannon, that shoots pumpkins up in to the hills!

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).

Dates: Sept. 29-Oct 31 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Cost: Admission is $3, the wagon ride is $6 and the petting zoo is $3 and games are various prices. The Pumpkin Fun package includes admission, a wagon ride and the petting zoo and is $10.

5380 3/4 University Dr.
Irvine
Online: tanakafarms.com

photo: Jazzie J. via Yelp

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 and a-maizing corn maze. Kids pick 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, that corn maze and on weekends a petting zoo and pony rides. And for those looking for a giant pumpkin for photo ops, look no further.

Dates: Oct 1-30 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Closes at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Cost: Free admission. Free parking. Activities have a fee ranging from $3-$8.

5251 Hayvenhurst Ave.
Encino
Facebook: facebook.com/Tapia-Bros-Farm-126868084034172/timeline/

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. (Just note that not all activities are available on weekdays, the animals are only here Thursday afternoon-Sunday.)

Dates: Oct 1-31; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
Cost: Free admission. Activities are $3-$6.

4827 Sepulveda Blvd.
Sherman Oaks
Online: tinaspumpkinpatch.com

Whittier Pumpkin Patch
A small patch, this is all about the incredibly friendly service and convenient location for local families.  A little bit of farmland atmosphere comes to the heart of the city.  Here you can pick a pumpkin, snap some pics of your little pumpkin and zip away, or you can get all day bounce house passes and ride a pony or a tractor or meet the animals at the petting zoo.

Dates: Oct 1-31; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
Cost: Free admission. Activities are $3-$13.

11760 Whittier Blvd.
Whittier
Online: whittierchristmastree.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