Found the Perfect Pumpkin at the Patch? Here’s How to Decorate it.

Kids decorating small pumpkins with their mom.

After finding your pumpkin at the pumpkin patch, it’s time to search for a little carving inspiration, perhaps while sipping a pumpkin spice latte!

Pumpkins will last a few weeks on your front step if left uncarved. We recommend carving only a few days before Halloween. If hollowing out a pumpkin isn’t your idea of a good time, you can try painting your pumpkins, or creating an artful pumpkin display on your front step.

However, to be sure that the kids in costume show up, it’s best to have your Jack O’Lantern lit up. It’s a signal to kids it’s okay to come knocking for candy.

The History of Pumpkin Carving

Carving pumpkins is a favourite pastime in North America. However, do you know the roots of this favourite children’s tradition?

It is said that the tradition of the Jack O’Lantern originates from Ireland, where strange lights appeared in the bogs and marshes at night. Not having an explanation for this natural phenomenon (which was caused by decomposing plant material coming into contact with electricity,) people created stories about a ghost doomed to wander the fields alone at night with only a lantern.

Later, it became a common trick for kids to scare the neighbours, running through the fields with hollowed out turnips and beets as lanterns.

Pick Your Pumpkin Right from the Patch for Best Results

You’ll get the best choice of pumpkin if you go directly to the farm to get it. Pumpkins are best when left to cure in the field for a few weeks. Kids love to get their pumpkin from the farmer, and many farms have special events and activities planned.  

Pumpkin Carving and Painting

Pumpkin carving is the traditional way to enjoy the season. To do this, simply remove a circle of pumpkin around the stem, pull it out, and scoop out the insides. Using a small knife (or a special carving tool), you can cut out shapes, spooky scenes, or a face.  There are a great many stencils you can download to use, as well.

If scooping and cutting don’t appeal to you, or if you have small children that aren’t ready to handle a knife, you can also try pumpkin painting. For best results, start with a very clean surface. Try a light solution of bleach and water to remove any bacteria that can cause rotting. Next, you can paint your pumpkin with acrylic paints. Try funny faces or spooky designs. Small painted gourds lend themselves well to a tabletop display.

The Teal Pumpkin Project

Halloween is a ton of fun, but it also poses some risks for kids with allergies. This great project helps to keep kids with allergies safe. Homes that provide non-food treats for kids with allergies can place a pumpkin that is painted in teal on the step to let parents know that safe treats are available.

The Teal Pumpkin Project can be another fun Halloween DIY project. Providing non-food tricks and treats is a fabulous way to be inclusive and a good neighbour!

Visit the Pumpkin Patch at Barrie Hill Farms

The pumpkin patch at Barrie Hill Farms is open from late September to the end of October. Visit us to find the you perfect pumpkin for Halloween.

Pumpkin Picking Tips for Kids of All Ages

A pick your own pumpkin patch in the sunshine

Picking your own pumpkins is the perfect way to celebrate the spooky season, and that’s why kids of all ages love it. Getting outside and finding the perfectly round or ‘perfectly imperfect’ pumpkin is an excellent way to enjoy the fall sunshine.  

In Ontario, we are fortunate to be close to the pumpkin farm.  This means you don’t have to settle for a store bought version.  Here are our tips for the best pumpkin picking outing – ever!

Dress Appropriately for the Pumpkin Patch

Don’t be afraid to dress spookily, but warmly. Make the occasion fun by letting the kids try out their costumes while they explore the pumpkin patch. Rubber boots, a warm hat, and gloves are always recommended for a chilly October day. For parents, we recommend a pair of work gloves and clothes that are easily washed, because sometimes the pumpkins in the field can be a little dirty.

Gather a Little Inspiration

Visit Pinterest for some great pumpkin carving ideas.  If you don’t like getting your hands gooey, try a fun craft, such as pumpkin painting. Think outside the box for decorating. Faces are fun, but for a more sophisticated front porch, you can use a power drill to make little holes in the shape of an interesting pattern. Once you have an idea in mind, you can start your pumpkin search.

What to Bring to the Pumpkin Patch

We recommend you bring paper towels and some old newspaper or a garbage bag to wrap your pumpkin to keep your car clean. You may want to bring some garden shears to cut the vine if it is still attached. Check with your farm to see if you can bring a child’s wagon to load your pumpkin haul back to the car. Bring a camera too. You won’t want to miss the perfect pumpkin Instagram opportunity. #pumpkinpatch

Pick A Pumpkin with Character

Natural lumps and bumps make great scary faces. Stems make creative pumpkin noses. Don’t be afraid to pick a pumpkin with character. The best pumpkins are the ones that are unique.  Your pumpkin patch may also have a selection of pumpkin ‘babies’. These are actually called ‘gourds’ and make excellent fall decorations.

Handling Pumpkins

Pumpkins that are ripe and ready for picking have an even orange colour, sound hollow when they are tapped and have a dried out stem. Clip the pumpkin from the vine, leaving 3-5 inches of stem. Pick up your pumpkin from the bottom, not from the stem, because it may break. Once you arrive home, it’s best to leave your pumpkin outside in the sunshine. Bringing it inside may cause it to rot before the big day.

Barrie Hill Farms has pumpkins available for picking in good supply from late September until the end of October.  For more information, visit our pumpkin picking page.