It's decorative gourd season again, mofos—everyone is drooling pumpkin spice and there are corpulent gourds literally everywhere.
Admittedly these are strange and historic times, with no Halloween-y thing scarier than the coronavirus. But you can still enjoy a good corn maze, hay ride, or pumpkin toss as Bay Area pumpkin patches do their part to offer Covid-safe autumnal fun.
Masks and social distancing are, of course, required, and some farms are taking things a step further with temperature checks, sanitizing stations, and advance reservations. A few are even offering curbside pickup and delivery.
We've included those details below, but we also recommend checking patch websites as well as county-specific safety protocols in advance of your visit as things may change quickly during a pandemic.
Clancy's Pumpkin Patch
Get a taste of the country at Clancy's Pumpkin Patch, a cultural touchstone since 1979 now with two locations. Expect all varieties of pumpkins and gourds, as well as tractor-pulled hay rides around the patch. Be sure to read up on their COVID-19 safety protocols prior to heading out. // 9am to 9pm daily through Halloween; 2101 Sloat Blvd. (Lake Merced); 1620 7th Ave. (Forest Knolls), clancytrees.com
Smith Family Farms
Take advantage of this year's bounty at Smith Family Farm's Pumpkin Patch. While there won't be hayrides this year due to the pandemic, you can take the fam for insect encounters (there's a beehive and butterfly habitat), enjoy live music on a socially distanced hay bale, walk the new Autumn Trail, and gather edible pumpkins for all your pie-baking needs.
This year, your $11 admission fee includes a pumpkin of your choice. There's also a fruit stand open daily from 8am to 6pm) that sells things like persimmons and pomegranates.
// 9am to 5pm daily through Halloween; 4350 Sellers Ave. (Brentwood), smithfamilyfarm.com
If a good old fashioned corn maze is your thing, then get ready to get (somewhat) lost at G&M Farms' nearly six-acre corn maze, carved with twists and turns, dead ends and dizzying walkways. Once you find your way out, pick your own gourd right off the vine. Pony rides, farm animals, and a Cow Train are available on weekends.
This year, look out for the pandemic-friendly free pumpkin drive-thru on October 17th and 18th—they'll be giving away 3,000 pumpkins while supplies last.
// 3pm to 6pm weekdays, 10am to 6pm weekends; 487 East Airway Blvd. (Livermore), gmfarms.com
This family-owned and -operated farm has a pumpkin patch with several organically grown varieties. In the Covid era, ranch-goers over age 11 are required to wear masks, and everyone must follow social distancing protocols. Activities including pony and train rides, the reptile zoo, and corn maze are open only on weekends and with pre-purchased passes. Passes are not required just for picking pumpkins.
// 10am to 6pm daily through Halloween, 2718 Alpine Rd. (Portola Valley), webbranchinc.com.
Speer Family Farms Pumpkin Patch
Now located in Uptown Oakland, Speer Family Farms' pumpkin patch is an adventurous mecca with a four-story ship slide, giant Zorb balls, a pumpkin shooter, and more. Bag your own valley-grown pumpkins and other organic produce before calling it a day. During the pandemic, curbside pickup is available for online orders. Reservations for activitiese are required on weekends. The patch is operating at limited capacity to uphold social distancing standards.
// 10am to 9pm daily through Halloween, 1911 Telegraph Ave. (Oakland), speerfamilyfarms.com
Arata's Pumpkin Farm
This isn't your typical run-of-the-mill, ma'-and-pa' pumpkin patch. Latticed with its own hay-walled labyrinth and circled by, yes, a gladiator ring, Arata's Pumpkin Farm is as enchanting as it is enigmatic—there's something different to explore around almost every corner. In the evenings, they also have a Haunted Barn. But don't get too disorientated. There are still hundreds, if not thousands, of ripe pumpkins ready for you to take home. For kids, Arata's offers hayrides, pony rides, train rides, and a petting zoo.
Arata's is also perhaps the most Covid-safe on this list. Masks are mandatory, there will be temperature checks upon entering, and there is now a $20 charge per vehicle for parking to reduce congestion. You can read more about their coronavirus protocol here.
// 9am to 6:30pm Sunday through Thursday, 9am to 10:30pm Friday and Saturday; 185 Verde Rd. (Half Moon Bay), aratapumpkinfarm.com
From an activities standpoint, Lemos Farm is the Bay Area's equivalent of a fall-themed Disneyland. Aside from the bevy of mother effin' gourds to choose from, older kids at heart can enjoy a spooky trek through the haunted house while the young ones can make a beeline to the well-stocked petting zoo or take a pony or train ride. And yes: Lemos Farms does regularly host goat yoga sessions ($35). Because of Covid-19, they're only doing pre-sold ticket admission this year; you can grab your tickets ($10-$25) and select your time on Eventbrite.
// 9am to 5pm daily, 12320 San Mateo Rd. (Half Moon Bay), lemosfarm.com
Peter Pumpkin Patch
A trip north of the Golden Gate Bridge will treat you to a bevy of roadside farm stands, enthusiastically slinging their squash for coins—but none of them can hold a candle to Petaluma's Peter Pumpkin Patch, located at the working dairy farm Petaluma Creamery. Pumpkin lovers can also embrace their inner farmhand whilst on the grounds, milking cows (till 3pm) and digging for potatoes. Don't miss out on live music (on weekends), barbecue, and homemade pumpkin ice cream and organic cheeses. Leave the white jeans and cream-colored Yeezys at home.
// Free admission, 9am to 4pm weekdays and till 5pm on weekends; 4235 Spring Hill Rd. (Petaluma), springhillcheese.com/pumpkin-patch
Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin Patch
Now in its 25th year, Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin Patch is the perfect go-to for those of us who want a festive AF gourd but don't have the time to wander around acres of farmland to find it. They sell more than 15 pumpkin varieties including plenty of multicolored mini pumpkins to bring those pumpkin patch vibes indoors. They also have a Halloween costume and decorations shop and a small haunted house.
Masks are required at all times and social distancing practices are in place. You can shop their online store for curbside pickup and Bay Area-wide delivery of pumpkins, Halloween-themed Covid masks, and more.
// 9am to 8pm daily, 4414 Piedmont Ave. (Oakland), pumpkinpatch.info
Farmer John's Pumpkin Patch
Farmer John's grows some of the plumpest pumpkins in the Peninsula, with a wide variety of Cinderellas, luminas (white pumpkins), and the world-famous (and world's largest) Atlantic pumpkins. But with some examples of the latter varietal on his farm weighing in at 500 pounds, you'd be hard pressed to fit one in the family hatchback.
The farm is requiring masks and proper social distancing, has implemented regular sanitation practices.
// 9am to 5pm daily through Halloween, 850 Cabrillo Hwy N (Half Moon Bay), farmerjohnspumpkins.com
During the month of October, Pastorino's transforms into a seasonal pumpkin farm with hayrides, train rides, ponies, pet-and-feed farm animals, giant slides, and jumpers. On the weekends, enjoy a haunted house and face painting; the farm also operates a year-round nursery where you can find a new plant baby to take home.
// 9:30am to 5:30pm daily through Halloween; 12391 San Mateo Rd. (Half Moon Bay), pastorinofarms.com