4. PUMPKIN THEMED WATCH PARTY
Be sure that you make your pumpkin experience last by popping some popcorn and enjoying a pumpkin-themed viewing party at home.  If you have young kids or are just young at heart, watch the 1966 classic animated movie It's the Great PumpkinCharlie Brown.  ABC will air it twice this month and you can rent it on YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon Prime. If you have older kids and teenagers or just need a little more excitement, then enjoy watching Pumpkin Drops and Pumpkin Chinkin' videos on YouTube.  We love the pumpkin dropping contest by Channel Super Fun and MIT's Annual Pumpkin Drop.  They are a lot of fun to watch even with the teens!  Everyone can appreciate the excitement of hurling a pumpkin through the air like this Pumpkin Chunkin' video presented by the Smithsonian Channel.

5. ATTEND A LIVE PUMPKIN DROP
If your family is really into WATCHING pumpkin drops, consider attending a live one. Events such as Florida Atlantic University's Live Pumpkin Drop and Physics Carnival not only offer the thrill of seeing a pumpkin dropped from a tall building but an educational experience as well.  The physics fair hosted by the FAU's Physics department and Physics and Astronomy Club have enlightening activities for the whole family as well as a Physics professor led discussion about the drop!   Be sure to let your kids know that pumpkin dropping is always left to the "professionals" and is illegal when done by "lay people" – just in case they start to get any wise ideas. 

6. COOKING WITH PUMPKIN
Who can cruise through fall without at least one pumpkin recipe?  Be sure to save those seeds from your pumpkin carving for some roasted pumpkin seeds!   If pumpkin pie isn't your thing, consider cookies or muffins. You can make some adorable pumpkin cupcakes that will please the whole family.  For inspiration, check out local cupcakes professionals such as our favorite Love Muffin's Cupcakes (Port St. Lucie, FL). And don't forget to try some of the other fall squashes and gourds as well!  Butternut squash, spaghetti squash and acorn squash can be made into anything from soups to casseroles to dessert!  They also can be a healthy alternative to pasta noodles. Zoodles (pre made or made with a zoodle maker) and spaghetti squash are easy to find at your local grocery store and are a healthy, gluten free, low calorie substitute for pasta.  Just replace pasta with your zoodles in any of your pasta recipes! 

PUMPKIN CARVING
You can't visit the pumpkin patch without grabbing some pumpkins for carving.  Have a family discussion before going to the pumpkin patch.  Allow family members to decide how they would like to carve or paint (see below) their pumpkins. Be sure that you allow every family member to design their own pumpkin and purchase a couple of backups just in case one goes wrong during the carving or painting process (this will save you some crocodile tears especially if you have small children).  Kids can draw their pumpkin designs on paper before hand.  Older kids can even create their own pumpkin stencils or you can find stencils online like these (Stencils and Carving) provided on The Miami Pumpkin Patch's Website.  They also suggest tips for getting your pumpkin to "keep" longer by reducing bacteria on the pumpkin which is the cause of pumpkin rot.  In order to do this, remove all dirt from your pumpkin.  Next, spray the pumpkin inside and out with a 1 tablespoon to 1-quart ratio solution.  Let the spray penetrate and dry for 20 minutes.  Finally, rub all of the carved or cut surfaces with petroleum jelly to prohibit mold growth.  Be sure you use flameless LED candles to safely "light" it up. Carved pumpkins treated in this manner will last about a week if you keep them in a COOL, DRY and SHADED spot that is out of direct sunlight. Here are some fun pumpkin carving ideas!

3. CONSIDER PAINTING YOUR PUMPKINS
Pumpkins do very well painted with acrylic craft paint.  This is a fun alternative to carving and safe for all ages.  Kids and adults should design their idea first on paper and then on their pumpkin.  Be sure that you paint in layers allowing the pumpkin to dry between layers.  You can set your paint with a light craft sealant spray.  Everything from funny faces to artistic nightscape renditions can be created using paint.  If you want to get fancy, paint pumpkins in solid colors to use for home décor.  White pumpkins with gold or silver accents are beautiful and are acceptable centerpiece components for even your most formal events.  Here is a gallery of pumpkin painting ideas.  Pairing your painted pumpkins with ribbons, flowers, stray and other elements make beautiful home and event décor components. 

FALL PUMPKIN SEASON:
Make the Most Out of Your Pumpkin Patch Outing and Other Fun Ideas

7. PUMPKIN SPICE SCAVENGER HUNT
Even if eating pumpkin isn't your thing, you can still enjoy the fall frenzy of pumpkin spiced products, even if it is for "entertainment purposes only."  Start a photo chat group using messenger.  Try the parent controlled Messenger Kids or an app like Group Me.  Create a group file sharing and chat with everyone who wants to participate.  Or you can pair small children with older family members.  Decide on a time limit (between two days and a month) and have members take photos of pumpkin spiced products – NO REPEATS!  The person or team that comes up with the most photos wins bragging rights!  Be sure to take children to the store and let them "find" products as you go down the isles. 

We have put together a list of both corn mazes, pumpkin patches and nearby camping/cabin sites for the southeast TFDB service area including Florida, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina, but don't worry if you are located outside or area, a quick Google search will bring you to a location near you!

Stay tuned for our upcoming blogs! We will be featuring fun Halloween activities like the Fayetteville Zombie Walk & Prom (Fayetteville, NC) and Haunting Tales - Lexington Ghost Tours (Lexington, VA).  Other future blogs to look forward to will feature Fall Nature exploring the Natural Bridge (Rockbridge County VA) and Blue Ridge Parkway (Parkway NC/VA).


#Cupcakes #LoveMuffins1 #Desserts
​Love Muffin's Cupcakes

Blogging for you... is written for The Front Desk Belle Concierge Services by Michelle Sharkey of Service, Style and Design and Sunshark Industries.  Michelle is a professional writer and artist located in Miami, FL. She has written for MacMillian International Textbooks and has published art with Little Brown and Co.  Her multifaceted talents include professional tour guide and writing lifestyle and DIY style pieces for local businesses.  She lives on a boat with her husband, Tom Wilson, with whom she renovates boats and RV's as seen on their popular YouTube Channel #Renovationship.

You don't have to travel very far to have an adventure in a pumpkin patch!  These are great fall activities that can be done in just a one day trip or combined with an over night stay like camping, a rustic rental cabin or even an Airbnb. Even though your trip to your local pumpkin patch is a short day trip or only a short distance from home, you can make memories associated with your outing all month long!  When you keep the fun going, your memories increase with new experiences, and it allows you to feel the nostalgia of the outing!  Here are our suggestions for making the most out of your Pumpkin Patch outing!

1. DRESS FOR THE OCCASION
Pumpkin Patches and corn mazes (several patches also have a maze) are prime spots for some amazing photos.  Many engagement shoots, wedding shoots and memorable photos can be taken in these locations so choose your clothing accordingly.  You may even want to bring a second set of clothes for photos.  Having a separate "play and hunt" set of clothes might be best depending on the age of children and what photos you wish to accomplish.  Consider fall themed clothing such as plaid flannels, blue jeans, hats and boots.  Be sure that you color coordinate without being too matchy!   Other options are solid color shirts – white, black, navy, and green are all colors that contrast your pumpkin patch and corn maze settings.  For toddler and baby photos, pumpkin costumes are adorable as are farmer boy and girl outfits (jeans, work boots, flannel, bandanas and cowboy hats).  Other fun costume ideas are Halloween themed or Wizard of Oz themed outfits. Going for something more formal?  Serious engagement photos and wedding wear photos turn out beautifully in these settings. Consider shots like leaning up against a rustic fence, sitting on stacks of hay, looking into a sunset, and sitting on a truck tailgate.  Another option is to bring a professional photographer like Storing Up Treasures Photography (Port St Lucie, FL) for your formal professional photos.  Plan to spend no longer than an hour taking family photos and no longer than two hours taking engagement or wedding wear photos, because you are there to have FUN too! 

Fall is one of the best times of the year.  Between watching the leaves grow colorful and the pleasantly cooler temperatures, autumn is something we look forward to.  With the excitement of the upcoming holiday season spread across different cultures and religions, we can all appreciate the harvest season with enthusiasm. Family experiences are more valuable than material objects. Many studies suggest traveling as a family bonding activity which has a lasting and positive impact.  Long family vacations can be expensive and difficult to make time for, especially after summer has come to a close.  Luckily, short day or weekend trips and "staycationing" can be just as beneficial to your family as your week-long summer road trip!  

​​​FLORIDA
Flamingo Road Nursery (954) 476-7878
1751 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. West Palm Beach, FL 33401

The Pumpkin Patch Miami Florida (305) 598-3486
8200 SW 104th St. Kendall, FL 33156

Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Trees Naples Heavenly Evergreens (276) 768-7676
8200 Immokalee Rd. Naples, FL 34119

Gallagher's Pumpkin Patch and Christmas (850) 559-4554
4701 4th South Petersburg, Fl 33704

Jacksonville Pumpkin Patch (904) 221-1700
1821 San Pablo Rd S, Jacksonville, FL 32224          

Stanley Pond Adventure Farm (352) 742-8180
15426 County Rd 48 Astatula, FL34705

TENNESSEE
Nanney Farms Pumpkin Patch (731) 514-2431
1767 Sharon Hwy. Sharon, TN 38255

Lyon Family Farms (931) 438-9938
130 Bellview Rd. Taft, TN 38488

Lucky Ladd Farms: Petting Zoo and A-G Adventure 

(615) 274-3786
4374 Rocky Glade Rd, Eagleville, TN 37060

Mayfield Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch (423) 746-9859
57 TN-307, Athens, TN 37303

NORTH CAROLINA
Carrigan Farms (704) 664-1450
1261 Oakridge Farm Hwy, Mooresville, NC 28115

Hubbs Farm (Home of Hubbs Corn Maize) (910) 564-6709
10276 N. US-421, Clinton, NC 28328

Garner's Corn Maize and Pumpkin Patch (252) 241-1184
5878 US-70, Newport, NC 28570

VIRGINIA
Calvary Virginia Beach Pumpkin Patch (757) 499-1572
4832 Haygood Rd. Virginia Beach, VA 23455

Corn Maize in the Plains (540) 456-7339
4501 Old Tavern Rd, The Plains, VA 20198

Belvedere Plantation (540) 373-4478
1410 Belvedere Dr. Fredericksburg, VA 22408
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