Fun for the Halloween Season
● By Kimberly Boney
October is the perfect time to reap a harvest of joy with your family and friends. With so many wonderful things to do, your social calendar will be full before you know it. Embrace your sense of adventure, round up your little pumpkins and see what fun awaits you in the North State.
The Perfect Pumpkin Hunt One of the greatest blessings of living here is the access we have to local farms (pickyourown.org). What could be more fun than bundling up in the crisp fall air and hunting for the perfect pumpkin? With so many varieties available, everyone in your family is likely to find one with its own unique flair. Pumpkins are weighed by the pound at most farms, and although the rate per pound is typically comparable to that of your local supermarket, we guarantee hunting for your own is a lot more fun than buying one that’s been picked for you. Many local farms have an abundance of delectable fruits and vegetables due to what farmers are calling a “super year.” While you are pumpkin hunting, ask what other goodies the farm may have available for purchase and you may just save yourself a trip to the supermarket altogether.
Cook Up Some Fun Pumpkins are good for more than just carving the perfect jack-o-lantern. Make dinner preparation a family affair by assigning each person a dish to prepare. Roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pies, soups, purees and casseroles are only the tip of the iceberg. Pinterest.com is sure to have you drooling for hours on end with the plethora of pumpkin recipes. You could always go old school, tie on your apron, and see just how delicious it can be to season everything with love—no recipe required.
A Day of Family Fun Lace up your sneakers, grab your sweaters and head on out to Hawes Farms (historichawesfarms.com) for a full day—or several—of family fun. In addition to the huge variety of attractions, every weekend in October is themed with a different family friendly event. The admission fee includes many of the attractions, so be prepared for plenty of fun!
Nash Ranch (nashranch.com), another North State favorite, boasts a weekly craft faire, free kids’ activities, wooden photo boards and good old fashioned family fun. Each week, a different youth group is invited to work and retain funds from all concession sales and parking lot donations. If you are in the market for beautiful and natural harvest inspired décor, Nash Ranch has decorative corn, miniature straw bales and stunning gourds available for purchase.
Check out Downtown Chico’s “Treat Street” event on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 2 to 5 pm (downtownchico.net). Children 12 and under are invited to dress in costume, bring a parent and collect treats at nearly 60 participating businesses. Who says the kids won’t get to wear their costumes more than once?
Play Dress Up Part of the fun of Halloween is finding the perfect costume. Local thrift stores, vintage shops and pop-up Halloween boutiques are a lovely place to find inspiration. Many shops stock up all year for Halloween season, so get ready for a treasure hunt! If you can’t find what you are looking for in a store, you can always create your own unique costume. Websites like Pinterest.com and Etsy.com can plant the seed of creativity while local craft, fabric and thrift shops—and even garage sale finds—can help bring your vision to life.
Get Your Craft On We’re bound to catch a few raindrops this month. Use those rainy days to spend some quality time with your inner artiste! Grab some paint, paintbrushes, a small drop cloth, an old wooden frame, wire, glue and the funkiest old buttons you can find and create this adorable harvest inspired work of art: www.indulgy.com/post/ncuqBvTzK1/halloween-crafts-buttons. Don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out exactly as it appears in the photo. Part of the fun of it is allowing the creativity to take over and following your heart to create a keepsake you’ll treasure for years to come.
Get Spooked If you are looking for an adventure that will knock your socks off, the North State has plenty to offer by way of fear-filled fun. Lake Shasta Caverns (lakeshastacaverns.com) celebrates its second annual “Outbreak at Lake Shasta Caverns,” where a Zombie Apocalypse seems to be in full swing. Nash Ranch offers both a mild and intense version of “The Dreams of Darkness.” Hawes Farms offers three distinctly haunting experiences: “Zombie Slayer—The Ultimate Paintball Experience,” “Field of Screams” and “Carnival of Fear.” Each venue offers a unique perspective on the traditional haunted house, so it’s worth it to check out all three. These are not for young children or the faint of heart, folks!
Become One with Nature and History Cooler temperatures create the perfect atmosphere for a day of discovery. Take a drive to Old Shasta’s Masonic Cemetery (11471 Mule Town Road), founded in 1864. It’s fascinating to see the family lineage—and the sheer age—of some of the graves there.
Or enjoy a beautiful and leisurely drive to Eureka and check out The Haunted History Ghost Tours (oldtownhauntedhistorytours.com). This 90-minute guided tour will regale you with the rich and often unexplainable history that has befallen the quaint Old Town area. Bring your walking shoes and warm clothing and prepare to be enchanted.
Trick-or-Treat It’s October 31. You’ve found the perfect Halloween ensemble, crazy hair and make-up are in full effect, the cool night air is blowing on your face and you have a bag ready to load up with candy. What could be better? Not much—except the assurance that even if it rains, or if you are looking for an alternative to the neighborhood trick-or-treating of yesteryear, you and your family can still have a rip-snorting good time together on Halloween. Enter the Harvest Festival at Big League Dreams in Redding. Sponsored by Little Country Church (littlecountrychurch.org), this family friendly event (no scary costumes allowed) features game booths, face painting, use of the batting cages and much more, all for free.
And if you would rather “treat” someone else to some fun on Halloween, there is plenty of joy to be had in passing out candy to trick-or-treaters while checking out all of the costumes that make their way to your door. Bonus points if you dress in costume to greet your trick-or-treaters.
Have a Smashing Good Time The fun isn’t over when October comes to a close. Hawes Farms has its annual pumpkin smashing on Nov. 2. All the pumpkins not harvested will be ripe for the smashing. We’re talking baseball bats and pumpkins… you do the math! •