Family Friendly Fall Festivities

Here's a roundup of upcoming fall festivities in and around Santa Cruz County.

We love this time of year! The kids are all back in school, the weather starts to cool, and of course there’s the fun of Halloween.

There are so many great pumpkin patches, fall festivals, and fun family events going on that it can be difficult to keep up with. So, we decided to put together a guide of our favorites.

Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival - Downtown Half Moon Bay, CA

The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival is SO much fun! There is a ton of activities and if you’ve ever lived on or near the coast, you know this is the most gorgeous time of year there! It runs the weekend of October 13 and 14 and there is music, games, arts, crafts foods and much much more! This time of the year, getting to the coast can be tough so if you plan on going, make sure you leave EARLY otherwise you’ll be stuck in traffic FOREVER!

Roaring Camp Railroad Annual Harvest Fair - Graham Hill & Roaring Camp Roads, Felton, California 95018

Along with the fun train rides, there will also be a pumpkin patch, make and take scarecrow craft, hand car races, petting zoo, bounce houses, gold panning, tractor rides, candle making, old time photos, and historical demonstrations like a blacksmith and printing press operator. The Harvest Fair event takes place Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14 from 10am - 5:30pm.

Diwali Festival of Lights - Memorial Park, 21267 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014

Saturday, October 13 from 10am - 5pm at Memorial Park come have fun at this multi-cultural festival. There will be music, dance, arts and crafts, fun, frolic and food. Admission and parking are free.

Northern California Renaissance Faire - Casa De Fruta, 10031 Pacheco Pass Hwy 152, Gate 6, Hollister, CA 95023

Visit the “Village of Willingtown” for a fun look back in time. There will be performances, food, shopping, and (of course!) a truly awesome game of dress-up! The event will be on weekends thru October 14 from 10am - 6pm.

Mommy & Me FREE Kid’s Club: Halloween Family Fest - Santana Row, San Jose, CA

This fun (and popular!) event takes place on Tuesday, October 30 from 10am - noon. There will be trick-or-treating, live music, and more. This tends to get pretty crowded, so we recommend going early!

Santa Cruz “Trick-or-treat on the Wharf” - 21 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Safe trick-or-treating at wharf businesses. Monday, October 31 from 4pm - 6pm.


Flashlight Safari  - Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, 1300 Senter Road  San Jose, CA 95112

Bring your flashlight and take a tour of the zoo at night! You will learn all about nocturnal animals, and even meet some of them up close! Event runs October 19, 20, 26 & 27 from 7:30pm - 9pm.

Spooky Times at Deer Holloween Farm - Deer Hollow Farm, Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, Mountain View, CA

Saturday, October 27 from 10am - 3pm ($7 per person, $5 with costume, Children under 1 free!) Along with all the usual farm animals to see, there will also be some childrens activities and  crafts and they will be able to tour the “spooky barns”.

Boo At The Zoo  - San Francisco Zoo, 1 Zoo Rd, San Francisco, CA 94132

This is a great event for families with younger children! Trick-or-treat amongst the animals at the zoo, see puppet shows, story times, and sing-alongs, and do fun crafts. Event runs October 27 & 28 from 10am - 4pm.

Boo At The Zoo - Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Rd, Oakland, CA 94605

Another great family event! Wear your costumes and trick-or-treat, ride the “boo train”, and join the costume parade. There will also be face painting, and kids can make treats for the animals and see how the animals at the Oakland Zoo celebrate Halloween. Kids in costumes receive a free ride ticket! This event takes place the weekend of October 27 & 28 from 10am - 3pm.


Roaring Camp Railroad - 5355 Graham Hill Rd., Felton, CA 95018

Children's Ghost Train - Relive "The Legend of Sleepy Hallow" this Halloween riding vintage railway cars through a Redwood forest. Costumed actors re-enact scenes from the story as it's narrated during the one-hour and fifteen minute ride. Reservations required. Friday October 28 and Saturday 29.

Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad - 233 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, California 95032 (Oak Meadow Park)

The Haunted Train is a family event featuring spooky train rides, friendly frights on the carousel, and entertainment for children of all ages. There will also be a children’s trick-or-treat event called “Goblyn's Glen”. The events run every weekend (Friday through Sunday) for the whole month of October with two added nights on Thursday, October 18 and Thursday, October 25. Hours are from 6pm until 9pm and tickets can be purchased at the Goblyns Glen event ticket booth.


Gizditch Ranch 55 Peckham Road  Watsonville, CA 95076

They have some great apples as well as a wonderful little store that sells baked goods and fresh pressed juice. This place may be a little far from home, but it’s worth the drive!

Gabriel Farm 3175 Sullivan Rd. Sebastopol, CA 95472

If you’re up for a drive, they also has some fantastic U-Pick apples as well as delicious fresh juice (and not just apple juice but Asian pear juice as well!). It’s nice to be able to pick your apples fresh and come home and make something delicious out of them!

*For all events and activities listed: Please make sure to check for more info on dates, times, pricing, and directions.

There’s so many fun options for things to do this month! If you know of any other events or great pumpkin patches, please share with us. We hope you all have a great time, and we’d love to hear from you all!

Know of any other fun events this month or great pumpkin patches to check out? We’d love to hear from you all! Please share with us in the comments below.

Dvera Saxton October 14, 2012 at 05:18 PM
There's also Clearview Orchards right outside of Watsonville... pick your own ORGANIC apples, locally: http://www.clearvieworchards.com/
Jennifer Squires October 14, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Awesome. Great tip!!
Dvera Saxton October 15, 2012 at 05:30 AM
AND, organic pick your own pumpkins at Crystal Bay Farms, right outside of Watsonville... Keeping it real, and local. http://www.crystalbayfarm.com/web/Home.html
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