The annual visit to the pumpkin patch… is it obligation or fun? For our family it’s some of both, but definitely leaning more towards the fun side!
Like many families the tradition of visiting the pumpkin patch started when our oldest was just a baby and the boys have gone each and every year since. I did miss one year, I don’t remember why, but it must have been important, and I was heartbroken. So, even though finding time to go the pumpkin patch can feel like a chore, getting the kids to pose nicely for my annual photo is beyond frustrating, and living in California means our pumpkins will rot long before the big day, we go… and we like it!
The Obligatory Photo
Beyond the collection of perfectly shaped pumpkins my other main agenda item when visiting the pumpkin patch is getting that obligatory adorable photo of the kids. I don’t want to complain, but living in California means that the ideal pumpkin patch I remember from my childhood, just doesn’t exist. You know, the one with lots of giant pumpkins growing on curly green vines as far as the eye can see. Don’t forget the squishy mud you had to wade through to get to them. Who knows, maybe that’s not even real? It could be we bought our pumpkins at the local QFC? Mom?
Anyway, here in sunny California we have dusty dirt fields with a bit of hay strewn about and the occasional pumpkin here and there. At this point its late in the month, and pickings are getting pretty slim and so are the photo ops, we’ll just have to make it work… and we do!
I’ve dressed the boys in Halloween-ish type shirts and arranged a few pumpkins strategically, hoping to make a nice scene, but Elliot is easily distracted and keeps running off and darn that California sun, but Simon just can’t keep his eyes open no matter what direction I point him. I yell at them for a while and take about 100 bad photos before I give up and hope I got at least one decent shot. There are always the Halloween night photos? This is fun, right?!
We’re Having Fun Now!
There are many pumpkin patches in the Bay Area, but we usually head to Half Moon Bay, a favorite destination all year round. The weather was beautiful, so after we completed our pumpkin mission we ate outside at our favorite seafood restaurant, Barbara’s Fish Trap, and then took a lovely walk on the beach. Gotta love that California sun! We decided to end our day with a treat… Roasting marshmallows at the Half Moon Bay Ritz. The views were amazing and there were bagpipes playing! Okay, we are definitely having fun now!
Creating Our Pumpkin Masterpieces!
I’ve always enjoyed carving pumpkins and I generally choose something in the pop culture genre, Simon tends to go for something a bit more spooky and Elliot designs his own on the fly. Neither Simon, nor Elliot used patterns of any kind this year and both tried their hand at doing some sculpting! I had decided upon Hello Kitty and a hilarystyle.me pumpkin. Though I didn’t do any sculpting I did use acrylic paint to enhance Hello Kitty’s face and bow and I carved hilarystyle.me freehand.
If you decide to use paint, make sure to clean and dry the pumpkin before applying the paint and wait for each coat of paint to dry before applying the next one. If you live in a rainy place its best to keep your pumpkin undercover.
Roasting the pumpkin seeds was a Halloween tradition in my house and one I’ve enjoyed continuing with my own kids. For added flavor we like to leave a bit of the “pumpkin goo” on the seeds. I love the smell of them roasting!
Heat the oven to 375 degrees and spread the seeds out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Salt liberally before putting them into the oven for about 10 minutes. You’ll want to use a spatula to toss them around before putting them back into the oven for another 5 or so minutes. Don’t forget to salt them again! Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!
I’ve always loved dressing up for Halloween even before I could use the kids as an excuse! Now, that I have two, the sky’s the limit! In recent years I’ve been everything from Bat Girl to a pirate and a day of the dead skeleton to the Black Swan. This year I’m going as a Harajuku Girl! We have a number of Halloween events planned, so I’ll be getting a lot of use out of my costume this year! Fun!