Ever since we had kids, our annual fall tradition has been to go to a local farm where we indulge in expensive fall activities and pick pumpkins from the patch. Because nothing says fall like going down a 100 foot slide, playing in a bin of corn, or getting lost in a hay maze, right?
Apparently this practice even has a name: agritourism. Farming can be a difficult profession, and I don’t blame farms for trying to supplement their income. But the practice has become so commercialized, with one local farm advertising a bounce house, balloon chase, rock wall, and baseball challenge among their offerings. Because nothing says fall like chasing balloons, I guess.
When I was a kid, my family’s fall tradition was to go apple picking with family friends, followed by a pizza dinner. In Western NY, apple picking meant climbing trees or tall ladders. Here in Western PA, the trees are so small that ladders aren’t needed. There’s no work involved, and it just isn’t the same.
Now that my kids are 13 and 10, the allure of farm activities has faded. When I asked if they were ok with picking pumpkins from a grocery store, they said yes. The obligatory picture of them in a pumpkin patch is no longer; it’s the end of an era.
My next question was to ask if they wanted to carve their pumpkins. My husband interjected, “You mean, do you want me to carve your pumpkins?” making it clear this was the last thing he wanted to do. I tried to help by suggesting they decorate the outside of their pumpkins, like many people now do. The kids didn’t care; they said they wanted to make jack-o-lanterns. Maybe we can at least steer them toward smaller pumpkins, and be thankful that at least one fall tradition remains.