The Best Places to Go Pumpkin Picking Around LA
These days, the best LA pumpkin patches kinda remind us of music festivals: Many have bands performing onstage, food trucks, carnival rides, and VIP wristbands offering access to cleaner bathrooms. Sure, it’s all a lot more family-friendly than the festival scene -- way less crowd surfing here -- but picking your next jack-o’-lantern is nonetheless a seasonal tradition that helps remind us it’s fall (even though our weather hasn’t caught up). Here are 11 of the best patches to peruse, from working farms that grow their own squash to urban LA parking lots transformed into festive harvest scenes.
Dates: September 22-October 31
This 30-acre working farm in the OC boasts squash diversity in spades (white, green, pink, speckled, flat, round!), in addition to old-fashioned orange varieties. Visit on the weekend for extra-special activities, like a pumpkin cannon (exactly what it sounds like), ATV rides, face painting, and tons of kid-friendly eats like shaved ice, churros, and nachos. Can’t make it Saturday or Sunday? Weekdays still offer a petting zoo, corn maze, sunflower field, and wagon rides, in addition to some pretty amazing food from Tanaka Grill (think deep-fried tornado potatoes, pulled pork sammies, and sweet roasted corn). Also, thanks to a partnership with Sanrio, you might find kawaii (that’s Japanese for cute) Hello Kitty- and Keroppi-themed photo ops throughout the place.
Price of a pumpkin: 99 cents per pound; $4 admission (children ages 2 and under free)
Dates: October 5-30
Visiting Mr. Bones (a celeb haunt entering its 31st season) is practically a Halloween rite of passage in LA. With paid admission, kids receive $5 in Pumpkin Bucks and five activity tickets -- which disappear quickly thanks to a straw maze, high-rise plank walk, pony rides, multiple bounce houses, and about a gazillion other activities. You can also splurge on VIP passes for expedited entry, access to an exclusive area, and more special perks. In fact, there’s so much going on at this Culver City patch, you might forget the real reason you showed up: the pumpkins. Thankfully, they’ve got plenty to choose from with an on-site master carver (select days only) to design your take-home masterpiece. Pro tip: Check the live entertainment and food truck schedules before you go.
Price of a pumpkin: $1-$600, depending on the size of the pumpkin; free admission on weekdays, $15 admission on Saturdays and Sundays (children ages 2 and under get in free)
Dates: October 13-14
This open-to-the-public fall festival got its start in 1934, only a few months after The Original Farmers Market first opened. In the old days, merchants decorated fall-themed floats to promote their businesses and parade through the market. Although vendors don’t do that anymore (bring back the parade!), there’s still plenty to see and do, most notably the rockabilly and country live bands, pig races, and a delightfully messy, no-hands, pie-eating contest hosted by Du-par’s. Kids will head straight for the game zone, which features pumpkin bowling, candy corn hole, and the patch itself.
Price of a pumpkin: $3-20; free admission
Dates: October 11-November 4
Nights of the Jack takes the pumpkin patch up a few notches with an immersive jack-o’-lantern experience on Gillette Ranch in Calabasas (fun fact: Calabasas is derived from the Spanish word for “calabaza,” which means “pumpkin”). Thousands of pumpkins -- intricately hand-carved by artists to depict marine life, dinosaurs, movie stars, animated characters, and more -- will illuminate a half-mile trail. Feeling inspired after the walk? Take a little creative license while carving your own pumpkin on-site. Ticketed time slots guarantee you’ll never have to deal with lines for food trucks and vendors.
Price of a pumpkin: Starting at $6; admission is $25 for adults (13 years old and up), $20 for children (ages 4-12), and free for children ages 3 and under.
Dates: October 1-31
Not only can you pick out the perfect squash at this Whittier patch, you can also decorate it on the spot (for a fee). If you’re not in the mood to channel your inner pumpkin Picasso, there’s also a super slide area, pony rides, and a popular petting zoo with baby goats, sheep, and ducks.
Price of a pumpkin: $3-25; free admission
Dates: October 6-7
Cal Poly Pomona’s Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture takes the seasonal squash seriously, growing 40,000 pumpkins and a corn maze specifically for this annual two-day festival. Expect tractor-pulled hay wagon rides, squash tunnels, a farmers’ market of student-grown produce, an insect fair, and (since the event’s hosted by a school, after all) a wealth of educational exhibits and displays -- this year’s highlight is a cow-milking demo. The festival only lasts one weekend, but if all you want to do is buy a pumpkin, visit Tuesday through Sunday starting October 9 for free admission to the patch (you’ll miss the pumpkin seed-spitting contests, though).
Price of a pumpkin: $5 any size; $5 admission for adults, $4 for children ages 2-12, and free for children ages 2 and under
Dates: September 29-October 31
Underwood Family Farms’ month-long fall celebration includes various themed weekends -- like country and bluegrass music on Farm Country Weekend (October 6-7), stunt ropers and magic on Wild West Weekend (October 20-21), and a total pumpkin blowout for All About Pumpkins (October 27-28). Food is a focus on weekends as well -- with homemade carnival fare like roasted corn-on-the-cob, Mexican food by Spencer Makenzie’s, and lots of pie. When you’re not stuffing your face, wander past acres of pick-your-own pumpkins, hay pyramids, pig races, and a corn stalk labyrinth.
Price of a pumpkin: $1-$100 depending on the size of the pumpkin; admission varies (but children ages 2 and under get in free)
Dates: October 5-31
Tina’s has all the usual pumpkin patch suspects -- train rides, a slide, bouncers, pony rides, and a corn maze -- but this Sherman Oaks spot is most notable for its petting zoo (there’s a llama!) and ample parking. This year, she’s bringing a rock-climbing wall into the mix, too.
Price of a pumpkin: $2-$100 depending on size; free admission
Dates: October 1-31
The Stauffer sisters are pint-sized social media sensations with 4 million followers on Instagram, and they’re hosting a pumpkin patch at Culver City’s PLATFORM this year. Enjoy arts and crafts, a hay barrel maze, and an on-site store curated by Venice’s Fire & Crème (this is a shopping center after all), with face painting, balloon artists, and a petting zoo on weekends. Starting Oct 12 on Thursdays, the patch transforms into an evening pop-up beer garden for the 21-and-over crowd.
Price of a pumpkin: $1-30; $5 admission on weekdays, $10 Friday through Sunday
Dates: October 6-31
Although this family-owned patch -- first opened by Shawn in 1984 -- sits right on Culver City’s Jefferson Boulevard, it’s got an authentic farm feel with corn stalks, straw bales, and piles of pumpkins as far as the eye can see. This year’s tot-friendly festivities include bungee jumping, a pumpkin bounce house, merry-go-round, sand art, arcade games, obstacle courses, and face painters so skilled that even adults may clamor for a session.
Price of a pumpkin: $1-$10, free admission
Dates: September 29-October 31
The San Fernando Valley lays claim to Forneris Farms’ annual Harvest Festival, where they grow, harvest, and sell their own pumpkins. Don’t leave without taking a narrated, tractor-pulled train ride around the property, snapping a selfie atop the beloved hay pyramid, and getting lost in a massive four-acre corn maze -- where you’re encouraged to find 12 hidden riddles (corn-undrums, get it?), fill out a scorecard, and enter for a prize.
Price of a pumpkin: Varies, but admission is free
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