Get pumped! It’s time to start thinking about where your family will pick a pumpkin or two. The spots below offer experiences of all kinds, from harvest bonanzas with fun and games, to chill spots offering fall foliage, baked goods and maybe a tractor ride. (Many also serve as a place to pick apples if you’re looking to double up.) Most of these patches are a short commute away, so it won’t be hard to carve out some time to harvest the perfect pumpkin!
photo: Richard evea via Flickr
New York City
Queens County Farm Museum
You won’t believe how close you are to home at the Queens County Farm Museum. Dating back to 1697, the site is New York City’s largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland. Every weekend in October the farm’s fields are filled with pumpkins to pick and buy (according to circumference), and The Amazing Maize Maze returns for those wishing to get lost. Hayrides are offered on the weekends as well.
Hours: Weekends & Columbus Day, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free, except on Oct. 29, when the farm will host the Children’s Fall Festival and admission will be $20. The Amazing Maize Maze: $10/adults; $5/children ages 4-11; free for children three and under.
73-50 Little Neck Pkwy
photo: Mike D. via Flickr
Make getting there part of the fun by visiting Staten Island’s historic Decker Farm. (If you do hop on the Staten Island Ferry, know that you’ll have to transfer to a bus for a 45-minute ride.) The early-1800s farm gets in the fall spirit every weekend in October with pumpkin picking, face painting, a corn maze, hayrides and arts and crafts.
Hours: Sat. & Sun. in October, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (bonus day to pick: Mon., Oct. 9).
Cost: $6/person, $20/family of four.
435 Richmond Hill Rd.
photo: amboo who? via Flickr
Schmitt’s Family Farm
What does Schmitt’s Family Farm have for pumpkin-seekers? Really, what doesn’t it have? In addition to the usual suspects such as a pumpkin patch, hayrides and a corn maze (7 acres, to be exact), you’ll also find Long Island’s largest straw pyramid (for climbing), slides and inflatables, farm animals and pony rides, and even the opportunity to walk through the haunted house in the daytime — a semi-scary experience more appropriate for little ones than the evening’s full-on fright fest.
Hours: Open 7 days a week 10 a.m. – 5p.m. (pumpkin picking and hayrides available throughout the week, other activities only on the weekends).
Cost: Entrance and hayrides are free; corn maze $8/person, haunted mansion $6/person.
26 Pinelawn Rd.
Elwood Pumpkin Farm
For purists, it’s not pumpkin picking unless you are the one to cut the vine. Sure, pumpkins acquired this way tend to be encrusted with dirt, and you have to edit the selection yourself, but that’s part of the authentic experience fun, right? Visitors will also find a corn maze and hayrides here. (Like what you see? Come back in December to cut your own Christmas tree here.)
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 3p.m.-5p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (open Columbus Day 10 a.m.-5 p.m. as well
Cost: Free admission for pumpkin picking
1500 East Jericho Tpke.
Photo courtesy of Mt. Hood Territory via Flickr
Take in the scenic views while you pick your perfect pumpkin at the three generation family farm, Ochs Orchard. Just over an hour drive from NYC, the Orchard offers cider, doughnuts, homemade ice cream, and even has a small petting zoo for you and the family to explore. Make sure to hit their Farm Market on the way out to stock up on fresh produce and call in advance for pick-your-own availability
Hours: Daily 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Cost: No admission fee
4 Ochs Ln.
photo: Tamara McCauley via Flickr
At Soon’s Orchard, take a wagon ride up to the pumpkin patch for the full pumpkin picking experience. This orchard has been operating since 1910, and is home to more than 50 varieties of apples and 20 of peaches and nectarines. After you hit the pumpkin patch, take an adult break and check out their tasting room featuring top-rated New York State wine, beer and hard cider.
Hours: Weekends, 11 am-4 p.m.
23 Soons Cir.
New Hampton, Ny
What began as a dairy farm in the 1800s is now is a family owned and operated apple farm. “Home of the Happy Apple,” Outhouse Orchards invites you to pick both pumpkins and apples, offers hayrides through its orchards and a corn maze with educational clues (the topic: apples, of course). If you have a fall baby, the farm offers birthday parties as well!
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.–5p.m.
139 Hardscrabble Rd.
North Salem, Ny
If you’re looking for a lower-key, more ecologically conscious pumpkin picking experience, check out Fishkill Farms. Owned by the same family for more than 100 years, the picturesque 200-acre farm utilizes sustainable farming practices whenever possible, avoids synthetic pesticides and even grows a portion of its apple acreage organically. You can pick your own pumpkins and apples here, and on weekends through the end of October, the farm will be hosting “Fall Harvest Weekends,” featuring barbecue, live music, cider donuts and free hayrides.
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person, (kids 12 & under free)
9 Fishkill Farm Rd.
Hopewell JCT, Ny
photo: Jim Brennan via Flickr
Not far across the border is Secor Farms, a smaller kid-centered farm. There are plenty of photo opportunities, including a “How Tall This Fall” sign for you to mark your kid’s growth each year. The farm sells their homemade pies and apple cider doughnuts all week long and on weekends they have hamburgers and hot dogs you can eat at one of the picnic tables on the property. Hayrides take visitors to the pumpkin patch where you and the little ones can pick your favorite jack-o-lantern. Before you get back in the car, make sure to check out their huge selection of mums, kale plants, and Halloween decorations to bring a little bit of the farm back home.
Hours: Mon. – Fri. 3 p.m. – 5 p.m, Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Cost: Hayrides to the pumpkin patch are 3$/ticket (every passenger needs a ticket —lap infants and crawlers don’t count).
85 Airmont Ave.
This quiet, not crowded farm is the real deal. Pumpkin picking has never been easier with a tractor ride up to the pumpkin patch to find your perfect pumpkins for Halloween. This family-owned farm has been around for almost 150 years and doesn’t disappoint- check out their farm market on your way out for fresh produce and festive gifts.
Cost: No admission fee; tractor ride is $5 per person
223 Meyersville Rd.
For the full-on fall experience with all the bells and whistles, head to Alstede Farms on a weekend. Aside from pick-your-own pumpkins, you’ll also find pony rides, a moon bounce, a wagon train, hay rides, a hay pyramid (for climbing), live music, a bunny run and more. (Not only can you pick your own pumpkins here, you can also head out into the flower fields and cut some fresh blossoms to take home.) You’ll find not one, but two corn mazes here, one for smaller kids, another larger labyrinth for older ones .
Hours: The “Farm Family Fun” Activities happen Noon- 4 p.m., Mon-Fri.; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekends and holidays
Price: Pick-your own admission free M-Th, $5 per person on F, and $6.99 per person on Sat. & Sun.
1 Alstede Farms Ln.
Ort Farms is another northern New Jersey grower that really brings it in the fall. A family farm that’s been around for a century, Ort offers pumpkin picking, hay rides, pony rides, farm animals, a mini tractor play set, a hay pyramid and even Monster Truck rides! (You’ll also find a corn maze at Ort’s.) For the brave and adventurous, check out “Flashlight nights” for exploring the maze after dark! Bonus: no admission fee, no parking fee!
Hours: Noon-6 p.m., Mon-Fri.; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., weekends
Cost: Free admission; Corn Maze is $6 on weekend, $5 on weekdays; Hay rides $1
25 Bartley Rd.
Long Valley, Nj
photo: Marc Davis via Flickr
Harris Hill Farm
It’s a bit of a drive (about two hours from NYC) but Connecticut’s Harris Hill Farm, located in the hills of Litchfield County is worth the trip. Pick pumpkins in a thoroughly bucolic setting (weathered red barn, adorable farm animals and all), enjoy a hayride, and let the little ones tumble through the kiddie hay maze. They’ve got picnic tables on site for a fresh air picnic, and the view of the rolling hills in all their autumnal glory will make you feel you’re doing fall right this year.
Hours: Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: Admission, hayrides, kiddie maze all free of charge; corn maze is $3/person.
106 Ridge Rd.
New Milford, Ct.
Where do you head for your Halloween pumpkin fun? Tell us in the comments!
— Ilyssa Smith