The star of the Halloween show is the pumpkin. According to my favorite resource Wikipedia, the name pumpkin originated from the Greek word pepon ("large melon"). The French called it pompom. The British changed it to pumpion. Then American colonists changed it to pumpkin. Why? Heck, I dunno.
Pumpkins are gourd-like squashes and technically are a fruit. They can range in size from 1 lb to 1,000 lbs.
But who cares about all that...what we REALLY want to know is, where are the pumpkin patches in Ventura County and surrounding areas!? Well, here are some choices...but make sure to call before you go for hours, etc.
Big Wave Dave's Pumpkin Patch is located at 4075 Telegraph Road in Ventura (adjacent to Ventura College) with hours from 10am to 9pm in October (starting Oct 3rd). In addition to pumpkins, they offer free games and prizes for the kids. Visit bigwavedaveschristmastrees.com/pumpkin-patch.html or call 805.218.0282.
Boccali Ranch Pumpkin Patch located at 3277 Ojai-Santa Paula Road, Ojai (Highway 150 - at the base of the Dennison grade). Open October 4-31, 7 days a week, 10am to dusk. Extended hours on Fridays/Saturdays starting Oct 10th until 9pm. Daytime hayrides on Sat/Sun 11am to 5pm. Hay maze for the kids. Visit www.boccalis.com/PumpkinPatch.html or call 805.646.6116.
Bennett's Best Pumpkin Patch once again has location at the corner of Kanan and Agoura Road (818.706.0126) and at 28900 Roadside Drive (near Do It Center) in Agoura Hills (818.865.0754) as well as at 24439 Calabasas Road in Calabasas (818.224.4503).
McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch is located at 5156 McGrath Street, Ventura (south of the 101 between Telephone Road and Victoria). There will be hay rides, pony rides and plenty of pumpkins! Call 805.658.9972 or visit www.mcgrathstreetpumpkinpatch.com.
McGrath Family Farm is located at 1012 W. Ventura Boulevard, Camarillo. Visit their animals, run through their "green" maze and pick your organic pumpkin right out of their fields. 805.485.4210. www.mcgrathfamilyfarm.com
Pete's Pumpkin Patch is located on the north side of the 101 freeway at Central Avenue in Camarillo. You can't miss it as it goes way up the hill! Admission is free and they generally are open from 9 am to dusk in October. Hay maze, hay pyramid, hay rides and more! www.petespumpkinpatch.com
McGrath Brothers Great Pacific Pumpkins is located at 5100 Olivas Park Drive in Ventura. Tractor hay rides, hay maze, horse drawn hay rides and farm animals on hand. More information at www.greatpacificpumpkins.com or call 805.644.1235.
Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch at the Halloween Harvest Festival at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Visit www.halloweenharvestfestival.com. (Sad news: The Daily News reports that 2014 is the final year of the Pierce College Farm Center.)
Prancer's Pumpkin Village is open the entire month of October from 11am to dusk at 3075 Johnson Drive in Ventura (adjacent to the 101 freeway). In addition to an array of pumpkins, they offer pony rides, bouncers, petting zoo and other activities. Visit prancersvillage.com.
Stu Miller's Pumpkin Patch in October will be located at Simi Valley Town Center on Erringer Road 805.306.5925 and in Thousand Oaks at 450 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. 805.379.0851. Pumpkins, petting zoo, rides, inflatable attractions and more (no admission cost; activities vary in cost). www.seasonaladventures.com/location.htm
Underwood Family Farms Fall Harvest Festival in Moorpark opened September 27th and runs the entire month of October with themed events each weekend, pumpkin patch and lots of fun activities.