Halloween & Fall Fun in Marin

Fall is here, and so is our guide to all things Halloween in Marin! Get the scoop on pumpkin patches, activities and events, craft and costume ideas, and more.

Pumpkin Patches Further Afield

September 19, 2017

Pumpkin Patch

While there are plenty of awesome pumpkin patches to choose from in Marin and southern Sonoma counties (see our list of those here), you can find other great places to pick up pumpkins and other Halloween and autumn treats throughout the greater Bay Area. Maybe you're headed on a road trip to the south bay, or bound for the grandparents' house in Sacramento this October—there's probably a pumpkin patch on the way. Here are a few out-of-town pumpkin patches, in Solano, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties, that we've visited at one time or another or had recommended to us.

Get Your Tickets Now for Pumpkins on Pikes at Tara Firma Farms

September 18, 2017

Pumpkins on Pikes at Tara Firma Farms In addition to producing healthy and sustainable local food, Petaluma's Tara Firma Farms also puts on fantastic family-friendly events throughout the year. This fall, their annual Pumpkins on Pikes event continues this tradition. Come on out to the farm for Halloween fun with pumpkin carving, live music, dancing, a corn maze, BBQ and more.

Pumpkins on Pikes takes place on Saturday, October 28, from 2 to 10 pm. Bring your pumpkin carving tools, blankets and coats to stay warm after dark, a sheet to cover hay bales for seating, and favorite treat for the dessert potluck. Free pumpkins for carving will be provided with admission. The carved pumpkins are placed on pikes out in the cornfield, and when the sun goes down, the pumpkins are lit. It's an amazing spectacle! A BBQ dinner will be available for purchase $10 a plate at the event.

Fall Family Fairs & Festivals in the Bay Area

August 21, 2017

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin PatchFall is one of our favorite times of year, and there's so much family fun to be found in Marin and beyond. Find a family-friendly fall festival, fair or Oktoberfest to celebrate the season. We'll keep updating our list of events for Marin and beyond as we find more this fall. If you have an event you'd like to see added to the list, please contact us.

  • Halloween Harvest Festival
    Marinwood
    Friday, October 13, 5–7 pm

    Come to Marinwood for its annual Halloween Harvest Festival for children 12 and under. Activities include carnival games, pumpkin carving and decorating, face painting, trick-or-treat bag decorating, caramel apples, and a bounce house. Tickets: $12 advance or $16 at the door for kids ages 2 to 12; adults free. Food available for purchase. Event website.

Have a Pumpkin Patch Birthday Party this Fall!

August 21, 2017

Pumpkin Patch Party Nicasio Valley Farms

If your child has an October birthday, then why not have a pumpkin patch party? Marin's own certified organic pumpkin patch at Nicasio Valley Farms offers party packages during the month of October. It's a perfect way to celebrate a special fall birthday! October weather is usually fantastic, too, making an outdoor party even more fun. Make your reservation soon, as they book up quickly.

Birthday parties at Nicasio Valley Farms cost $12 per child and include a private party table, a hayride, hay mazes, a visit with farm animals, and a small goodie bag. Partygoers can also choose a small pumpkin from the Kids' Patch. If you book your party on a Sunday, you can also enjoy live kids' music from Marin's favorite family entertainer, Tim Cain, who performs on Sundays from 11 am to noon. Additional activities, including bounce houses, pony rides, a climbing wall, face painting, and more, are available for an additional fee.

Halloween Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits

October 28, 2016

candy corn fruit parfaits I love candy corn, that quintessential fall candy. Wouldn't it be great if it was actually good for you? My kids and I made these cute "candy-corn" style fruit parfaits, with layers of yellow pineapple, orange mandarin slices, and white whipped cream. They're perfect as a sweet but healthy treat for a Halloween party or autumn snack.

You can use either fresh or canned fruit. We tried making these with both fresh mandarins and canned mandarin oranges, and the kids like the sweeter and more tender canned version better. You can also substitute thick vanilla Greek yogurt for the whipped cream.

If you're making them for a Halloween party, assemble the fruit in advance in containers (we used 8-ounce mason jars) and refrigerate, then add the whipped cream or yogurt just before serving.

Ingredients

Makes one parfait

Pumpkins and More at the Tolay Fall Festival this Weekend!

October 13, 2016

Tolay Fall Festival

Many families in Marin and the North Bay have fond memories of visiting the popular pumpkin patch at Cardoza Ranch outside Petaluma. In 2005, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department acquired Cardoza Ranch, also known as Tolay Lake Ranch, turning its 1,737 acres of farmland into a county park.

Old-Time Family Fun at the Tolay Fall Festival

October 12, 2014

Tolay Fall FestivalYesterday we made our annual visit to the fantastic Tolay Fall Festival at Tolay Lake Regional Park outside of Petaluma. The festival, held over two weekends in October—this weekend and October 18 and 19, is the successor to the popular pumpkin patch held at the park's former incarnation as Cardoza Ranch. The Tolay Fall Festival is much more than a pumpkin patch, however. It's an old-fashioned, down-to-earth celebration of fall with tons of fun activities for the whole family, and one of our favorite autumn happenings in the Bay Area. It's a wonderful event that has plenty to do for kids of all ages.

Of course there's a pumpkin patch—it's huge and located way out in the back 40 of the park, and you need to take a tractor-drawn hay ride to get there. But there are also plenty of other other attractions, exhibits, and hands-on activities. Our children enjoyed making old-fashioned corn husk dolls, carding wool, spinning yarn, and dipping candles, and more.

There's also an animal area with the opportunity to pet some friendly goats, scarecrow-making, a world championship pumpkin-seed-spitting contest, lawn games, a giant straw maze, a demonstration of old farm equipment and early gas engines, archery for kids and grownups, an astronomy display, a Native American village, and more.