Pumpkin patches, hayrides, and only the friendliest of ghouls

Family-friendly Halloween fun without all the terrifying stuff.

Photo by: ecstaticist

It is beyond gratifying to take your kid home from a pumpkin patch, pick the straw out of their hair, wash the pumpkin gook from their fingernails, and put them to sleep, exhausted. That’s when you break out the secret bags of kettle corn and boxes of doughnuts and let the fun truly begin.

Insbrook’s Great Pumpkin Palooza

Palooza: n. A thing attended by many and promising some sort of fun.

At some point this was entered into our lexicon, and other music festivals are really annoyed that they didn’t get to go down in history as a universally accepted name for “fun time.” “Stock” didn’t make the cut. “Pumpkinstock” just sounds too much like a soup, I guess. Anyway, this one is so family friendly it’s almost unbelievable: pony rides, face painting, a petting zoo, a 5K, costume contests, “apple launching,” local school bands, and pumpkins, of course.

  • Saturday, October 24th • 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Innsbrook, 4951 Lake Brook Drive
  • Free!

Taylor’s SpookieFUN Fest!

It’s just like the title promises: it’s both spookie (like…a cookie maybe?) and FUN! It’s SpookieFUN! Of course it’s fun–it involves a Monsters U screening on a giant inflatable screen (8:00 PM), and there will be flashlight toy and candy hunts, trick-or-treating, and all that! Nighttime fun things that aren’t scary and don’t involve making any deals with the Dark Lord or anything you don’t feel like your kid is old enough to handle.

Pole Green SpookieFUN

  • Friday, October 23rd • 5:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Pole Green Park, 8996 Pole Green Park Lane, Mechanicsville
  • Free!

Poor Farm SpookieFUN

  • Saturday, October 24th • 5:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Poor Farm Park, Ashland
  • Free!

Gallmeyer Farms Pumpkin Patch

Every day feels like a festival at Gallmeyer Farms’s Pumpkin Patch. Seriously! Kids love the straw bale maze and, I assume, the spooky house tour, which I’ve always been too afraid to go in. The hayride is a big hit with my own child, but mostly because TRACTOR MOMMY IT IS A TRACTOR DO YOU SEE THAT DO YOU KNOW WHAT I LOVE TRACTORS MOMMY CAN WE GO ON IT WE ARE GOING ON IT ARE YOU KIDDING ME THIS IS QUITE LITERALLY THE GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE UNTIL I REALIZE THAT THIS TRACTOR RIDE WILL, JUST LIKE EVERYTHING MUST, COME TO AN END.

  • Open seven days a week • 8:00 AM until dusk (because that’s when vampires come out, so skedaddle on home, young blood-filled children!)
  • Gallmeyer Farm Pumpkin Patch, 4506 Millers Lane
  • Free to visit!

Chesterfield Berry Farm

Augh! I want you to click on the above link right now and check out this terrifying day/night dichotomy! Especially if that adorable striped baby turns into that bloody crazed murderer-surgeon telling us, “Hush!” Quick, click on the “Day” section to sever him from your brain. CBF cheerfully presents a hay ride, a corn maze, a toddler play area, gem mining (man, how fun is that), baby pig racing, BUNNY VILLE, A GOURD TENT…man, this is getting so cute, one of my hands just reached over and grabbed my car keys without me even realizing it. See you in Chesterfield!

  • Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays • see site for hours
  • Chesterfield Berry Farm, 26002 Pear Orchard Road
  • Free to visit!

Ashland Berry Farm

All the pumpkins you can carry for $20!! I have no information on whether or not that means “using a wheelbarrow,” but one would hope. Because I can only carry like one $5 pumpkin. On weekends, ABF offers free hayrides, a donut shop, a country store, a “nightmare gift shop” (don’t walk in there expecting donuts or country stuff!), and some other things for extra monies, like “Fort Pumpkin.” Many of these things are also available on weekdays, including a more limited schedule for hayrides. ABF also features corn stalks and hay bales. Do what you will with those.

  • Seven days a week • see site for hours
  • Ashland Berry Farm, 12607 Old Ridge Road
  • Free to visit!

Boulevard Flower Gardens: Pumpkin Patch at the Farm

If you can make it up to Ashland, you can make it down to South Chesterfield, which is where you’ll need to go to make your tour of Richmond Pumpkin Patches anywhere close to complete. On Halloween proper, Boulevard Flower Gardens is hosting a free kids costume event, which maybe will not involve a ton of factory candy that will turn our kids into jerks for the rest of the night. Features: giant slide, moon bounce, “goat grain,” free hayrides, and a straw maze. Stuff your face with kettle corn while your kids bounce around and demand the largest pumpkin of them all.

  • Through October 31st • see site for hours
  • Boulevard Flower Gardens, 2100 Ruffin Mill Road
  • Free to visit!
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Susan Howson

Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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