Editor’s Note: We’re doing our very best to keep our stories up-to-date. However, the situation and restrictions surrounding COVID are fluid and ever-changing. Please be sure to check each pumpkin farm’s website or Facebook page prior to visiting to inquire about any new restrictions or pre-purchasing of tickets or reservations required. And, as always, don’t forget your mask!

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. 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.

 

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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. Arrive hungry and grab a freshly baked apple cider donut or Uncle Bub’s award-winning BBQ. Call ahead to ensure the availability of activities as things may change throughout the season.

Open as of Sep. 18; 13341 W. 151st St., Homer Glen; Online: facebook.com/Pumpkinfarm

 

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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.

Now open; 29W310 North Ave., West Chicago; Online: sonnyacres.com

 

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Didier Farms
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.

Open as of Sep. 19; 16678 Aptakisic Rd., Lincolnshire; Online: didierfarms.com

 

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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.

Open now; 200 County Line Rd., Hobart, IN; Online: countylineorchard.com

 

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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.

Open as of Aug. 28; 42W813 Reinking Rd., Pine Grove; Online: goebbertspumpkinpatch.com

 

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Stade’s Farm and Market
The Shades of Autumn Festival has been a family favorite since it’s inception in 1995. Unfortunately, it’s canceled for 2020, but they are still welcoming guests to their beautiful outdoor space for pumpkin picking.

Open now; 3709 Mill Rd., McHenry; Online: stadesfarmandmarket.com

 

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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 beehive demo. Explore three different play areas that offer physical play, see the farm in style by taking a ride on the Ghost Town Railroad and squeeze in relaxation for the whole family when you sit back in the giant 100-year-old rocking chair. Check their website prior to visiting to make sure your favorite attraction is operating during COVID restrictions.

Open as of Sep. 26; 17250 S. Weber Rd., Crest Hill; Online: ourpumpkinfarm.com

 

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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. Continue the education with a visit to the donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens and turkeys and learn about each from one of the knowledgeable employees.

Open as of Sep. 19; 13236 W. Town Line Rd., Waukegan; Online: krollsfarm.com

— Maria Chambers

Featured photo: Patrick Fore via Unsplash

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