Pumpkins are popping up everywhere and the race to find the perfect costume is on. If you’re still looking for Halloween inspiration, or just hoping to unearth some haunting fun, there’s a scary selection of terrifying and family friendly options in the North Bay.
Wicked West Ghost Town of Jose Ramon Avenue
Haunted houses come out of the woodwork when the Halloween season arrives, but I’ve never come across one quite like the Wicked West Ghost Town of Jose Ramon Avenue in Santa Rosa. The event started as a neighborhood effort to attract trick-or-treaters. In the beginning it was small, a few tombstones and creepy pumpkins. Every year they’ve added decorations and attracted more visitors. Last year, organizers estimate around 8500 people visited throughout the month, with more than 1000 coming Halloween night.
It all takes place in the center of a residential neighborhood on Jose Ramon Avenue. A full Ghost Town façade actually goes up in front of a private home. Front and side yards turn into haunted hallways and a corn maze, and the driveway becomes a holding spot for the beginning of the often long lines to get in. They schedule a couple nights just for kids, when all the scary stuff gets covered, but the rest of the time the goal is to scare the living daylights out of you.
The volunteer monsters kick into full terror on October 17th, with many nights of haunting scheduled through Halloween. But even on off nights, the Ghost Town is ominously lit and worthy of a drive-by. The event is free, but donations are gladly accepted. Last year the Ghost Town and its volunteers donated more than $700 to Our Kids Sake, a Sonoma County non-profit that provide assistance for homeless children. Jose Ramon Avenue, Santa Rosa
Pumpkins on Pikes
Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma opens up its fields and heats up the grill to host a classic pumpkin carving party on October 27th. They provide grilled mini burgers with all the fixin's and pumpkins grown on the property to carve. You bring your own table service, a dish to share, carving supplies and your camera. When the sun goes down everyone's work of art is set aglow atop platforms in the fields for all to admire. Tickets are $20 per person, kids under 5 free. Tara Firma Farms, 3796 I Street Ext, Petaluma, (707)765-1202
Floating Pumpkin Patch
It's a new twist on finding the perfect pumpkin. Leave the hot, dusty fields behind and take the plunge October 20th at Santa Rosa's Floating Pumpkin Patch. Games, pumpkin decorating and pumpkin splashing are all part of the day's events. $10 admission price includes one pumpkin. Don't forget your swimsuit and towel. All proceeds benefit Santa Rosa Rec & Parks pools. Ridgeway Swim Center, 455 Ridgway Ave, Santa Rosa,(707) 543-3421
Windsor Certified Farmers Market 11th Annual Pumpkin Festival
The Windsor Farmers Market gets into the Halloween spirit on October 21st with all sorts of pumpkin contests and activities. Along with decorating, you can try your hand at pumpkin bowling, and scarecrow building. But don't miss the parade of pumpkin desserts. Windsor Certified Farmers Market, Market Street, Old Downtown Windsor, (707) 838-1320
Dana can be found on twitter @drebmann