Give Charlie Brown a run for his money and find your own Great Pumpkin. We dug deep to bring you a list of the best destination pumpkin patches as well as pop-up patches in the city. Warm your face on the steam of a hot apple cider, breathe the crisp air and listen to the crunch of leaves underfoot as you hoof your way through these great places.
DESTINATION PUMPKIN PATCHES
Bengtson’s Pumpkin Farm
You can pack a full day’s worth of fun that goes well beyond the pumpkin patch at this gem located about an hour southwest of Chicago. General admission includes unlimited turns on kiddie rides including the Happy Swing, a 90-foot-tall mega fun slide and twirling t-cup honey pots; pig races that occur every hour; adorable furry fun in the petting zoo; a walk through Kid Village with tot-sized fire station, schoolhouse and jail; and lots more. New this year is Tractor Town, where families can ride on their own personal tractor and be treated to animated characters and special surprises during the adventure. Come hungry and grab a freshly baked apple cider donut or Uncle Bub’s award-winning BBQ.
Sep. 20-Nov. 3; Hours vary, check the website
13341 W. 151st St., Homer Glen
Sonny Acres Farm
Shutterbugs looking for a prime pumpkin patch photo to Instagram will love the mountainous spread of pumpkins of varying shapes, sizes and colors sitting under the watchful eye of scarecrows and ghostly wooden cutouts. Allow time for play and visit the Dizzy Zone spinning tunnel, enjoy a ride atop a friendly pony or camel, take a 15-minute tractor-pulled wagon ride and tiptoe into the haunted barn that’s just the right amount of scary for littles ages 10 & up. Food stands with taffy apples, elephant ears, brats and spiced cider are scattered in the patch. If you’re still on the lookout for the perfect Halloween costume and decorations, don’t fret because they have a novelty shop with masks, wigs and costumes, plus a farm market with gourds, squash and Indian corn.
Sep. 14-Nov. 3; Hours vary, check the website
29W310 North Ave., West Chicago
photo: Didier Farms courtesy of b0jangles via flickr
Put an unexpected colorful twist on Halloween by going beyond the typical orange roundie and select one of the speckled, green or white pumpkins instead. Visit Pumpkin Playland, where kids can ride the kiddie carousel and ferris wheel, mine for gems, ride mini tractors, play corn hole, get up close and personal with birds in the Parakeet Encounter, conquer a straw bale mountain and weave their way through corn stalk or kiddie straw mazes.
Sep. 21-Oct. 31; Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
16678 Aptakisic Rd., Lincolnshire
County Line Orchard
Well known for their u-pick apple orchard, County Line is also a stop for your fall-inspired favorites like pumpkins as big as a small child, gourds, squash, hay bales, Indian corn, corn stalks, zinnias, sunflowers and mums. Kids can experience feeding time for Peter the Pumpkin-Eating Dino, the miracle of birth bird-style in Chickville and a wide variety of animals like miniature horses, pigs and donkeys, turkeys, chickens, guineas, llamas and goats in the kids farm.
Aug. 28-Oct. 31; Hours vary, check website
200 County Line Rd., Hobart, In
photo: Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch courtesy of David 23 via flickr
Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch
A visit to Goebbert’s has been a long-held tradition for local families since they opened their roadside pumpkin stand in 1978. Not only do they have a fantastic assortment of pumpkins eager to adorn your fall displays, but kids will leave with happy memories of the 1/2-mile tour aboard the Pumpkin Express, watching the weekend pig races, experiencing the insatiable appetite of the giant mechanical pumpkin-eating dinosaur and wandering through the corn stalk maze. Don’t leave without a stop into the petting farm where you’ll be greeted by a mama pig and her piglets, the furry residents of Bunny Town, llamas, cows, fuzzy chicks and goats looking down from atop the 25-foot wooden Goat Mountain, as well as an impressive assortment of exotic animals.
Aug. 30-Oct. 31; Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (closes at noon on Halloween)
42W813 Reinking Rd., Hampshire
Stade’s Farm and Market
The Shades of Autumn Festival has been a family favorite since it’s inception in 1995. Visitors can hitch a tractor ride to the patch to select their perfect pumpkin and gourds, take aim with a corn-launching cannon, race pedal cars, bounce to new heights on the jumping pillow or ascend the tractor tire pyramid.
Sep. 21-Oct. 27; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Sat. & Sun. in Sep., Fri.-Sun. in Oct.)
3709 Mill Rd., McHenry
Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm
Located just outside of Joliet, Siegel’s offers 40 acres of family fun with 30 attractions, including a tractor ride to their u-pick pumpkin patch and a newly added beehive demo, included in the general admission price. Explore three different play areas that offer physical play, see the farm in style by taking a ride on the Ghost Town Railroad, squeeze in relaxation for the whole family when you sit back in the giant 100-year-old rocking chair, and make a corn angel in Kelsi’s Corny Crib that’s similar to a sandbox but with corn.
Sep. 28-Oct. 31; Daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
17250 S. Weber Rd., Crest Hill
Kroll’s Fall Harvest Farm
Whether you want to bake, carve or decorate, Kroll’s carries many specialty breed pumpkins that vary in size, color and shape ready for you to load up in their pumpkin carts. Hayrides with a focus on educating visitors on farming (crop rotation, hay versus straw, pollination) and the crops they grow (gourds, corn, pumpkins) are offered for $4 per person. Continue the education with a visit to the donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens and turkeys and learn about each from one of the knowledgeable employees.
Opens Sep. 21; Mon.-Thurs., noon-8 p.m.; Fri., noon-10 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
13236 W. Town Line Rd., Waukegan
Pumpkin Patch at Horner
Horner Park brings a dash of country to the south side offering pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. Enjoy a pumpkin decorating station, Halloween-themed carnival games, a petting zoo, temporary tattoos, pony rides and more.
Held Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
2741 W. Montrose
Fall Fest at Union
Add a little pizzazz to your pumpkin-picking experience by taking the kiddos to Union Park for a pumpkin patch, games, arts & crafts, bounce house, face painting and photo opps galore!
Held Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
1501 W. Randolph, Near West Side
Harvest Fest at Indian Boundary Park
Walk the makeshift patch to find your pumpkins big and small, round and tall and personalize them at the decorating station. Bring your newly decorated friend along for the Halloween-themed carnival games, petting zoo, pony rides and maybe even end the day faux-inking yourself with temporary tats.
Held Oct. 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
2500 W. Lunt Ave., North Side
Pumpkin Patch at Ada
Add a little pizzazz to your pumpkin-picking experience by taking the kiddos to Ada Park for a pumpkin patch, games, arts & crafts, bounce house, face painting and photo opps galore!
Held Oct. 6, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
11250 S. Ada
Mini Pumpkin Patch at Bell
This mini patch won’t feel so small with games, crafts, inflatables, pumpkin painting and a chance to pick your own pumpkin.
Held Oct. 7, noon-3 p.m.
3020 N. Oak Park Ave., Montclare
Pumpkin Patch at Hale
You are invited to Hale Park us for a goblin good time while enjoying a pumpkin patch, pony rides, food, games, arts and crafts, treats, face painting, hayrides, pictures and more!
Held Oct. 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
6258 W. 62nd St., Clearing
Pumpkinpalooza at Skinner Park
Thank the Skinner Park Advisory Council for sponsoring and enjoy a day of inflatables, games, arts & crafts, face painting and rubbing elbows with animals in a petting zoo.
Held Oct. 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
1331 W. Adams St., Near West Side
Harvest Fest at North Park Village Nature Center
Wowsers! This year is the 27th annual Harvest Fest and it includes a scarecrow building contest, children’s nature crafts, storytelling, live music, farmers market, tours and seasonal refreshments.
Held Oct. 12 & 13, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
North Park Village Nature Center
5801 N. Pulaski, North Park
Fall Fest at Jesse White Park and Community Center
Bring your tiny goblins for a spooky good time at this pop-up pumpkin patch featuring pony rides, a petting zoo, Halloween-themed games and arts & crafts, face painting and lots more.
Held Oct. 19, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Jesse White Park and Community Center
410 W. Chicago Ave., Near North
Pumpkin Patch at Rainey
Take advantage of one of the last days to gather your pumpkins before Halloween and hit up this pop-up pumpkin patch. Before you head home to carve, enjoy a pony ride, games, arts and crafts, hayrides and face painting.
Held Oct. 19, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
4350 W. 79th St., Ashburn
— Maria Chambers
Harvest Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss