Story by Cheyan Swan
All around campus, temperatures are dropping, the leaves overhead are changing colors, and Halloween decorations are popping up in town. Fall has arrived, and with it are the many exciting and fun harvest activities in the greater Monmouth area. Local farms and businesses offer affordable activities for WOU students and beyond, such activities including pumpkin patches, harvest festivals, and Halloween-themed haunts.
WOU hosts our own Halloween event, called Trunk or Treat, on October 31 from 6-8pm. It’s open to the community and all are welcome over in Lot H on campus (behind Werner University Center). If you’ve got kids, take them to the downtown Monmouth Halloween Spooktacular, where there will be trick-or-treating along Main St. and at the Monmouth Public Library from 3:30-6pm.
As a very green and agriculturally-centered state, Oregon is home to an array of farms. Close to Monmouth in particular, there are plenty of local farms that cater to the autumn season–particularly in the form of family-friendly pumpkin patches. The Beal Pumpkin Patch, Bauman’s Farm and Garden, and Vince Woods Farm are three great pumpkin destination spots that will be featured.
The Beal Pumpkin Patch is located in Dallas, Oregon, about ten miles from the WOU campus. There is no entrance fee for the pumpkin patch, and the activities provided include a maze, farm animals, a farm dog, an I-Spy maze, and a craft market. Guests can buy snacks from concessions during their day of wholesome family fun. Additionally, there is a Christmas tree farm!
Bauman’s Farm and Garden is in Gervais, Oregon, which is about twenty-five miles from Monmouth. There are two different mazes for guests to traverse–a light version and an alternate dark version. In addition to general food for sale, there is also apple-tasting! Other fun activities offered are slides, a bounce house, and laser tag.
Vince Woods Farm is in Salem, about fifteen miles away, and is a local pumpkin patch. There is a mere one dollar entrance fee, and pumpkins are only a quarter per pound. The whole patch is U-pick, and it is typically smaller and less crowded than other similar establishments. This business takes pride in supporting local farmers!
The E.Z. Orchards Harvest Festival in Salem offers many of the same attractions as those previously mentioned, alongside a greater array of individual and family activities. The weekend fee is $8, and guests are able to engage with hayrides, duck races, pedal tractors, ring toss games, pony rides, a petting zoo, a corn maze, and listen to live bluegrass music. If you’re looking for snacks, there’s an array of fresh fall treats to choose from: apple cider, donuts, kettle corn, caramel apples, and pies. During weekdays, the fee drops down to $3. Those activities include the pumpkin patch, petting zoo, duck races, pedal tractor, ring toss, and corn maze. There is also a more limited array of treats available for purchase. Additionally, the orchard offers school tours upon appointment!
If you’re looking for more fright than simple fun, perhaps a haunt is for you and your friends. Close to Monmouth are two well-known and revered haunts: Milburn’s Haunted Manor and the Oregon School for the Deaf’s Nightmare Factory.
Milburn’s Haunted Manor, located in Hubbard, is a family owned and operated business comprised of two haunt experiences: The Dark and The Manor. Each haunt is $12 per person, or $20 for both. Both of the attractions are critically acclaimed and have won voter awards. The business includes a nighttime, illuminated pumpkin patch, as well, making it a one-stop shop. The pumpkin prices depend on its approximate size, small being $2, medium $4, and large $6.
The Oregon School for the Deaf’s Nightmare Factory is another event located in Salem. The fee is $15 per person, the proceeds going toward the school itself. It is a completely indoor haunt manned by actors who remain in costume and in character throughout. Although the actors will not touch guests, they will startle them with jumpscares and loud noises. The set is dark and entirely decorated, and guests maneuver their way through in small groups, moving toward a thrilling surprise conclusion. As Nightmare Factory’s site claims, this haunt is not for the weak of heart.
No matter your preference, there is local, fall fun available for everyone!