Tips for a pumpkintastic season!

We are so excited to have everyone visit the valley in just a few weeks for their dose of farmily fun at Oxtober! We’ll have a bunch of activities, learning opportunities fresh produce, and of course, beautiful pumpkins to cook, carve, play with, or decorate your home! 

During October, you will be able to buy pumpkins from our Farm Stand on regular hours but you certainly won’t want to miss out on the fun activities we have prepared for your family, including our traditional pumpkin river, where kids get to ride the Oxboat for a fun photo-op and choose their favorite pumpkin from a variety of types, colors, shapes, and sizes. 

Picking your pumpkins is just step one of the plans, we want to make sure we set you up for success by giving you these fun tips to have pumpkin fun all season long! 

Carving, storing & displaying

If you’re hoping to light up your jack-o-lanterns on Halloween, we recommend not carving them too soon; a week in advance is ideal to ensure maximum sturdiness so the light shines through, doing justice to your beautiful carving work. While you wait for carving day, you can place your pumpkins by your doorstep along with some beautiful potted native plants and flowers to give your entryway a Pinterest-worthy seasonal makeover.

If your kids are too young to carve pumpkins on their own, consider painting instead of carving (make sure to use washable paint!). Once you’re set-up, dig into carving, and separate your seeds for later, there’s so much you can do with them! From cooking them, drying them for artwork, and more!

Pro tip: Bring out a large bin and place all the “guts” for the smallest of family members to enjoy sensory bins while you carve your masterpiece! 

pumpkin patch near seattle

We may be a bit biased but here are some of our all time favorite pumpkin ideas. 

    • Tractors
    • Pollinators – bees, butterflies, and bats
    • Native plants
    • Barns 
    • Sunflowers

If you end up posting your beautiful creations on social media, please tag us (@OxbowCenter)! We love witnessing where your creativity can take our pumpkins. 


The guts

The clean-up of pumpkin carving has a notorious reputation, discouraging some parents from enjoying this seasonal activity, but it doesn’t have to be such a headache, and here are some tips to help you navigate it!

  1. Use the right tools. Carving and cleaning out the insides of your pumpkin is safer and easier using the right tools; plus, they often come with cool templates to make carving easier. (Hint: use sewing pins to hold your template in place)
  2. Separate the seeds so you can make a fast and tasty treat out of them. They are perfect for roasting and seasoning, making an excellent little savory snack. Add them to a pestogranola, homemade seed butter, or breakfast cookies!
  3. Place a tarp or newspaper underneath your carving station for easy clean-up; take it outside, hose it off, or toss all of your newspaper into the yard waste!

Post trick-or-treating 

There is so much information on what you can and should do with your pumpkins after the holiday, so to clear it up, we called on some of our experts to see the best environmental options (that are easy for you!). You can compost them in your traditional yard waste bin or compost pile, toss them in the yard for critters to eat. Our favorite option is to turn them into a planter and bury them as a natural mulch for your new plants. But please, remove paint, wax, glue, and other non-biodegradable materials from it before discarding them.  

If you have older kiddos that might be interested in a cool science project, find a clear, glass container and place your pumpkin inside to watch the decomposition process, place a journal next to it to observe and monitor changes, just like a scientist would do! 

Now that you’re all prepped and ready for the season, make sure you’re registered for Oxtober to celebrate Autumn and grab yourself pumpkins to take home, enjoy, and maybe give your neighbors pumpkin to talk about (get it?).