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How to Fuel Your Passion for Pumpkin (Yes, Even #PSL)

Planning a pumpkin-themed road trip for fall has never been so much fun

Orange pumpkins packed together

There are dozens of exciting Ontario road trips to take to celebrate pumpkin season. So grab a pumpkin spice latte from your favourite coffee shop for the drive and get ready to explore pumpkin patches, savour tasty pumpkin treats and get spooked by spine-chilling jack-o’lantern displays.

Baskets of various gourds from pie pumpkins, ornamental pumpkins and various squashes 

Enjoy the outdoors at Upper Canada Village for Pumpkinferno

You don’t want to miss Pumpkinferno, a post-sunset event hosted at Upper Canada Village in Eastern Ontario. In addition to the glowing path of 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins, there will be unique Canadian-themed gourds on display carved by local artists for Canada 150. The pumpkin fun begins on September 29 and continues on select evenings through October 29.

If you want to make this road-trip adventure an overnight experience, pick a hotel along the St. Lawrence River in either Morrisburg or Cornwall to get a good night’s sleep.

Learn about a ship with a haunted curse at Discovery Harbour

Another Pumpkinferno adventure is an exciting show at Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene. As the tall tale goes, a ship carrying a cargo of supplies, weapons and food (including a rare form of pumpkin the soldiers ate to cure scurvy) rolled in by a quiet town and brought with it a bit of evil that threatened to haunt the lands.

The vessel, cursed with evil spirits, reappears on Halloween and must be fended off every year. Sound mysterious? You’ll need to embark on a road trip to the historic site between Thursday and Sunday evenings, starting October 1, to find out more.

Closeup shot of the walkway between two rows in a corn maze 

Check out Pumpkinfest at Downey’s Farm Market

Pack up the kids and drive toward Brampton for Pumpkinfest, taking place from September 23 to October 31. Activities include a boo barn, wagon rides, live entertainment, a straw jump, puppet shows, a corn maze and—you guessed it!—thousands of pumpkins on view.

Can’t wait until then? Don’t worry. Downey’s Farm Market is open for fresh and delicious produce such as raspberries, pick-your-own apples and corn. This family-owned farm sprawling across 215 acres includes a bakery serving fresh pie, so arrive hungry.

Ramp up the fun this fall with corn mazes and pumpkin picking at Snyder’s Family Farm

The spooky fun that kicked off the first weekend of September at Snyder’s Family Farm near Kitchener includes a candy barn, pirate ship, country hayride, five-acre corn maze, petting zoo, jumping pillow and a straw castle. Older kids and adults: get ready for Fear Farm, a scary haunted house that opens its doors on select evenings starting September 22.

There is no admission fee to the 10-acre pumpkin patch, where you can pick your own pumpkins to take home. 

A beautiful pumpkin pie with small dollops of whipped scream, one slice cut out and ready to be enjoyed on a plate 

Have a pumpkin-fuelled feast in the Niagara Region

Open for the season starting September 9, Howells Family Pumpkin Farm is located in Fonthill in the Niagara Region. A visit may satisfy all your pumpkin cravings with their famous squash-inspired treats of doughnuts, pie and fudge. Wash it all down with some refreshing apple cider. 

They have thousands of pumpkins to choose from, including a selection of mini pumpkins, giant pumpkins and gourds. For some healthier food options, pick up fresh sweet corn and squash to roast when you get home—after you are done carving your pumpkin, that is.

Head to Fort Henry for spooky jack-o’-lanterns and more

If it’s terrifying pumpkins you’re after, then put on your best costume and drive to Fort Fright in Kingston. Home to more than scary jack-o’-lanterns, the fort’s garrison has dark hallways and tunnels with live actors offering visitors fright and festive fun. Braver visitors can experience a nerve-racking coffin ride.

The ghostly fun starts on September 28 and runs Thursdays to Sundays at Fort Henry, which dates back to the war of 1812—the perfect setting for Halloween celebrations.

Two Jack-o-Lanterns, carved with spooky faces and lit up with candles 

Looking for more festive fun?

Get your vehicle in the Halloween spirit or find out what you need to know to camp this fall.

Image credit: visual hunt and pexels.