“Kids… sit still please. Look at mommy. Smile. Don’t throw that pumpkin! Do you want ice cream? Sit on that big, round white one. Say ‘Halloweeeeen’! Look at mommy. I’m right here. SIT DOWN!
Ah, forget it! I wonder if they have wine on this farm.”
If you have at least one mini-human living in your home or did at one time, you know exactly where I was in the heat of the afternoon last October. It’s a rite of passage for both parents and children: the Fall pumpkin patch photos. And as difficult as it can be to get those perfect pics of children in their orange and hunter-green frocks sitting among pumpkins and gourds of various shapes and sizes, I look forward to those pumpkin patch moments all year long. There’s no shame in my game: we visit as many of them as we can throughout the month of October and keep trying for that flawless photo. Those fall festivals and prize-worthy pumpkins are the quintessential representations of the best season of the year!
In my family, we FALL so hard. We anticipate the opening of the Spirit Halloween store as much as a skier anticipates the first snowfall. We covet the most creative dessert at a festival cake walk like a mama covets a hot cup of coffee after an all-nighter with a sick baby. We dream up Halloween costumes months in advance, start decorating with scarecrows and owls in late September, and fill our calendar with as many fall festivities as we can find. My kids come home daily to pumpkin-scented candles burning in the kitchen and mums strategically placed on the porches and tabletops. My husband gawks at our full agenda and questions how we can squeeze in all in, while this Mama is dancing around to “Thriller” and packing picnic dinners, ready to soak in everything my beloved season has to offer.
The endless options of awesome autumn activities, coupled with the natural beauty of the changing seasons, are the reasons why “fall” becomes a verb in our household and has led me to create an annual fall bucket list… I challenge you to FALL so hard with us.
HILL COUNTRY FALL BUCKET LIST –
1. Cross Plants and Produce – Kyle, TX: free pumpkin patch with unique pumpkins, several photo ops, a tree swing, local vendors, and a small store with farm-fresh goodies. Open daily (except Mondays). https://www.facebook.com/Cross-Plants-and-Produce-171346862896636/
2. Dripping Springs Elementary Octoberfest (OCT 26th, 2-5 PM): family festival with petting zoo, inflatables, cake walk, rock wall, carnival games, dunk tank, snow cones, food, and silent auction. http://dsepta.org/fall-fair?
3. Proof and Cooper Pumpkin Patch and Fall Festival: carnival, sweet treats, costume contests, live music, and a full restaurant/bar. Open weekends in October. https://www.proofandcooper.com/
4. Vista Brewing – Driftwood: family-friendly brewery with unique beers, farm-to-table seasonal food options, playground, and live music. https://vistabrewingtx.com/vista-food-experience/?v=7516fd43adaa
5. Michael’s MakeBreak Classes: Halloween t-shirts, jack-o-lanterns, Christmas ornaments, holiday trees, etc… you just buy the main item, and the store will supply all the decorations as well as the instruction. https://classes.michaels.com/classes
6. Friday Night Lights: Check out our local highschool football game and possibly a homecoming parade. It’s a full night of entertainment for the whole family for less than $10/ticket.
7. Barton Hills Farm – Bastrop: corn maze, duck races, games, pumpkin patch, slides, scenic photos, farm animals, playground, live music, and more ($16/person, $12 in advance online) https://www.bartonhillfarms.com/pricing
8. Fortlandia at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Explore 10 locally-designed forts, snack at the café, stroll among the flowers in the cooler weather, and play in the sand. (exhibit opens in October) https://www.wildflower.org/event/fortlandia/2018-10-09
9. Haunted House and Festival at Pioneer Town – Wimberley: This evening outdoor haunting is featuring ghouls, ghosts, and other scary creatures not often found in your normal pioneer village and is geared toward adults and older children, but on one Saturday in October, families are welcomed to a spooky fall festival featuring haunts, a creepy petting zoo, crafts for kids, pop-up vendors, live music, food, and beverages. (Daytime cost: $5 for 6+, free for under 5; Evening pass: $10 for 13+, not recommended for young children) https://wimberley.org/event/hauntedhouse-and-fall-festival-at-pioneer-town/
10. Fall Colors , Market Days, and Holidays in Gruene: “Watch as Cowboy Kringle rides into town on horseback and lights Gruene for the Holidays. We’ll be celebrating with live musical performances with festival food and wine available for purchase. Afterwards, get some holiday shopping done and cozy up to a fireplace for dinner at the Gristmill.” Go a little early for photos with Cowboy Kringle, a free show at Gruene Hall, and a stroll through town or along the river. http://gruenetexas.com/holidays.php
11. LBJ State Park and Historical Sites: FREE entry to a living history farm, nature trails, museum, animal exhibits, driving tour through LBJ’s ranch, historical sites/tours, junior ranger program (kids can do workbook activities and earn a badge), and special events. https://tpwd.texas.gov/calendar/lyndon-b-johnson/holiday-cookie-decorating-german-traditions-1
12. Haunted Train Rides & Zoo Boo – Austin Zoo: “Boo at the Zoo is a fun-filled evening for ghosts and goblins of any age. Come dressed in your Halloween finest (no adult masks, please) and enjoy our Zoo-wide event including the Zoo bedecked in Halloween spookiness, our nocturnal animals, an eerie train ride and unlimited passes through our mansion.” Check out the website for pricing and train ride times: https://austinzoo.org/boo-at-the-zoo/
13. Pumpkin Patch at DSYSA Sports Park (Oct 19, 9 am – 12 pm): This FREE event will entertain your kids with fall-themed and soccer-themed games, trick-or-treating, photo opps, and game-watching. Leave a donation for a pumpkin, lemonade, and/or baked goods to support the local soccer program and the youth that love to play.
14. Sweet Berry Farm – Marble Falls: This farm/pumpkin patch is FREE to enter, but you buy tickets for activities, such as flower picking, face painting, scarecrow-building, horseback-riding, and hay rides. Save a bit of money by bringing in your own picnic. https://www.sweetberryfarm.com/index.html
For more ideas and follow along as we visit and review these places, please follow me at http://www.instagram.com/dripping_with_kids and on my Facebook page Dripping with Kids. Thank you for reading!