At the center of the fall season are all these pumpkins. I have never seen so many pumpkins as I have here in Chapel Hill. Well, to be fair — in Manila there is no such thing as a “fall season”. We jump straight into Halloween and the costumes and the candies, and then go right into Christmas (I read somewhere that the Philippines has the longest celebration of Christmas in the world. Is that true?).
In any case, fall is my favorite season and the pumpkins have started to grow on me. We have not yet reached that point of learning to carve one out, but we have definitely come to appreciate all the activities that come with it. So this year, Sam being of age as well to enjoy it, we signed up for the Pumpkin Patch Express at the Museum of Life and Science. First off, Sam loves to ride the train there at the museum, so to participate was a no-brainer.
The activity involved getting on the train at your scheduled time, and then heading out to a designated pumpkin patch where everyone with paid tickets would get to pick out their own pumpkins to take home. Ironically children under 3 ride for free, and yet we had to pay for two tickets to get two pumpkins.
Sam took her time searching for the perfect pumpkins for her and Jamie, and finally stopped and pointed to the two she wanted us to have. For the life of me, I really couldn’t tell the difference from one pumpkin to the next… but okay. Whatever made her happy. She wouldn’t have it any other way.
Then you had to take your pumpkins to the “farmers” to get them labeled, and put them back on the train to finish the ride back to the station. Sam of course held on to hers and Jamie’s pumpkins so tightly that a lot of the dirt and the grass were left on her jacket (Note to self: next time, bring an apron).
Back at the station we were led to an activity tent where the kids could artistically design their pumpkins (Paint, sticker, and go to town with it), make trick-or-treat bags and get their faces painted with some Halloween themed design. Of course, Sam only allowed her hand to get painted and she didn’t want anything on her face. She wouldn’t do anything else until that was done either, and patiently lined up to wait for her turn. No amount of coaxing made her change her mind, and so we were one of the last families to finish up at the activity tent (No one was rushing us out anyway). It is times like these when I realized just how strong-willed and set in her ways my daughter can be.
Over-all it was a simple fundraising activity. There was nothing spectacular or unique about it; it was literally a pick-your-pumpkin activity, all for the price of $10 a ticket. At first I thought it seemed a bit steep, but upon computing the normal cost of a train ride, plus the price of a pumpkin, the crafts and the face-painting artists, I can understand how the tickets get sold out at pre-sales every year. At the end of it all, you go home with a tired and satisfied child as well as a complete array of Halloween necessities.
Sam claims she had a lot of fun. It is nice to be at this stage where you know they can appreciate the different local activities of the season. Similar to the Festifall celebrations, Sam could easily tell us what parts were her favorites, and she could relay it to my mom over skype too. Jamie was a very patient and observant passenger, taking it all in. While she couldn’t partake of the activities just yet, she was happy to have her sister take care of things for her. I wonder how much of these little excursions she will retain in her memory. Well no matter, my husband diligently documented the entire activity for both girls with photos and videos.
Now we have three pumpkins sitting on our kitchen counter; one painted from school, and the two from the weekend’s activity. Maybe it is time to start learning how to carve these things…