Blackberry Farm in Aurora will be at its pioneer peak this fall, decorated and ready for families to enjoy during a series of five Pumpkin Weekends.
"Half the fun is seeing the decorations," said Jeff Long, spokesman for Fox Valley Park District, which owns and manages the farm.
If you goWhat: Pumpkin Weekends
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October and Monday, Oct. 10
Where: Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora
Cost: $4 admission daily; $1 extra for trick-or-treat walks on Saturday, Oct. 22, and Saturday, Oct. 29
Info: (630) 892-1550 or foxvalleyparkdistrict.org
The other half of the fun is pumpkins, of course.
On October weekends beginning Saturday, Oct. 1, the farm's picnic area will display an assortment of pumpkins for purchase, and finger paint, markers and other decorating supplies will be on hand so kids can make the season's favorite produce item even more festive.
"In the last few years, Pumpkin Weekends have become a favorite event for young families," Sandy Smith, Blackberry Farm facility supervisor said in a news release.
Gourds, corn stalks and the changing colors of trees will help visitors get into the fall spirit at the farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday in October, visitors can ride the farm's carousel and tour the grounds on the "pumpkin train," or take a hay ride.
Pumpkin Weekend festivities also will take place on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 10. Admission costs $4 a person each day.
At least one day each weekend will feature a special activity or theme.
Sunday, Oct. 2, will kick off the themed days with an antique car show including vintage automobiles, custom cars and newer street rods.
Pumpkins will be highlighted even more on Saturday, Oct. 8, with pumpkin bucket toss, pumpkin ring toss and other games from noon to 3:30 p.m.
A display of scarecrows made by local residents, scouting groups and other organizations will be featured Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15-16.
Lisa Walker of Aurora plans to make a scarecrow with her 4-year-old daughter, Chloe. They had fun planning how to decorate their scarecrow last year, Walker said.
"(Chloe) picked out a pumpkin T-shirt for the scarecrow to wear," Walker said. "We got really creative with the head and bought one of those little plastic pumpkins," and gave it eyes, leaves and other fall accessories for decorations.
After the scarecrow decorating weekend, the two Saturdays leading up to Halloween will begin with trick-or-treat walks to satisfy that sweet tooth.
At 10 a.m. (before the farm officially opens) kids can trick-or-treat for candy at nine stations and participate in a costume contest at 10:45 a.m. Registration is required for the trick-or-treat walk, and it will add an extra $1 to the $4 admission fee, Long said. Registration closes at 4 p.m. the day before each event.
A few elements of Blackberry Farm will be closed for construction during Pumpkin Weekends, including the pedal tractor course, the Early Streets museum and the Carriage and Farm museums.
But that won't stop the spooky and silly spirit of Halloween and the fall festivity of pumpkins from reigning supreme at the farm all throughout October.
"This is such a fun time of year," Smith said. "So we want to make the season last just a little longer."