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By Ariele Johannson

Our handy guide will help you find fall festivities and family fun throughout our inland region, from pumpkin patches to harvest events to “haunting” Halloween happenings.

If you have a pumpkin patch, fall parade, or harvest festival event that you would like to have added to our guide, please email ariele@eastcountymagazine.org. Please verify information with the event before heading out.


Pumpkin Patches

Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center-October 2013

The famous Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch opens Wednesday, September 25th and continues daily through October 31st. Come and experience the fall harvest at Bates with the colors, scents, tastes and sounds found on their 100 acres. Shop for pumpkins or pick them in the field; buy squash and gourds in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes; and enjoy numerous activities including hay rides, a straw maze, pony rides, picnic grounds and farm zoo. Many special events take place each weekend to celebrate pumpkin season. Check their Events Calendar for details.

Extended Saturday/Sunday hours in October are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. October weekday hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m-5:00 p.m. Weekend Pumpkin Packages are also available and include one pumpkin, a hayride, and straw maze.


Bates Nut Farm

15954 Woods Valley Rd.

Valley Center, CA




El Cajon Pumpkin Station-October 2013

The El Cajon Pumpkin is located at Westfield Parkway Plaza in El Cajon. The station includes a mini and giant slide, ferris wheel, play center, kids’ helicopter ride, El Paso Train, Lil Toot Ride, a petting zoo; and of course, a pumpkin patch. Hours of operation are Monday-Thursday 1:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. and Friday-Sunday 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.


415 Parkway Plaza, El Cajon, CA 92020


The Great Pumpkin Express-Weekends in October 2013

The Campo Depot Museum has announced the 2013 Pumpkin Express in its tenth year at the Great Pumpkin event at the Museum. Travel to the Great Pumpkin's Pumpkin Patch and tour the Haunted Train where kids can pick out and decorate their own pumpkin. The trains are popular and seating is limited, so reservations are required.

TRAINS LEAVE AT 10:00 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The museum at the Campo Depot on State Highway 94 & Forrest Gate Road recommends that riders arrive in Campo at least 45 minutes before departure time, especially if they haven’t been to Campo before.



Campo Depot (located at State Highway 94 & Forrest Gate Road)

750 Depot Street

(left on Depot St. and follow signs to the museum)

Campo, California

(619) 478-9937 weekends


Julian Mining Company-October 2013

Throughout the month of October at the Julian Mining Company, enjoy these activities: pick-your-own apples and pumpkins in the field; enjoy tractor-pulled hay rides, gift shop, picnic area, petting zoo, and farm animals, U-Press apple cider, hay castles, marshmallow wars, the Ride-em/Rope-em Corral, Gourd Tipi & Sioux Tipi; and mine for gold and gems! They are open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Julian Mining Company

4444 State Hwy 78

Julian/Wynola CA 92036



Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch-October 2013

Mountain Valley Ranch in Ramona, owned by the Battaglia Family, has a pumpkin patch, corn maze, corn cannon, petting zoo, pony rides, petting zoo, Indian corn, and gourds. Families can meander through the fields and pick their own pumpkin or select one inside the barn. They are open in October from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They accept cash only.


Mountain Valley Ranch

842 Highway 78

Ramona, CA  92065



Norris Amusements Pumpkin Patch-October 2013 (* could not be confirmed)

This pumpkin patch is off of Scripps Poway Parkway and is open 7 days a week. The activities offered at this location include carnival rides, inflatable amusements, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, snacks, beverages, and more.

10144 Scripps Gateway Court

San Diego, CA 92131



Oma’s Pumpkin Patch-September 24-November 2, 2013

Oma’s Pumpkin Patch at Van Ommering Dairy has a pumpkin patch, hayride, hay maze, petting zoo, and sand pile. The patch will be open September 24- November 2, 2013. Hours are 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

They are open Tues.-Saturday, but closed Sunday & Monday. Each child receives a water bottle, Jack Patch pumpkin, and participation in all the activities with admission price.



Oma’s Pumpkin Patch

Van Ommering  Dairy

14950 El Monte Road

Lakeside, CA 92040

(619) 390-2929


Pinery Pumpkin Patch at Bonita Pumpkin Farm-October 2013

At Bonita Pumpkin Farm, there are farm attractions, such as farm animals, a tractor hay wagon, an 8 foot high corn maze, picnic area, and pick your own pumpkins. They are open daily throughout the entire month of October, M-Thursday from 9 am to 4 p.m. and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bonita Pumpkin Farm

5437 Bonita Road, Bonita, CA

858-566-7466 and 619-475-8733

Email: nosborn1@san.rr.com.


Summers Past Farms Pumpkin Patch-Weekends October 2013

Summers Past Farm in Flinn Springs on Old Hwy. 80 has a pumpkin patch, alpacas from East County Alpaca Breeders, and kids’ activities. The jumpy will be on the grass area and popcorn and corndogs at the coffee bar, along with coffee drinks and smoothies. 

Open weekends in October: Saturdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


Summers Past Farms

15602 Olde Highway 80

El Cajon, CA 92021

(619) 390-1523


Halloween Events

The El Cajon Annual Haunt Fest- Friday, October 25, 2013

The 2nd Annual Haunt Fest in El Cajon is a family-friendly event, which will be held from 5:00-10:00 p.m. The fun begins on East Main St and Rea Avenue between Magnolia and Claydelle Avenues in downtown El Cajon.

Enjoy live bands on three stages, Downtown Walk and juried art show, costume AND haunted car contests, Haunted Terror Truck, themed balloon characters, a haunted house, carnival rides for kids, a trick or treat kidz zone, craft stations, and food.


College Area's Boulevard Boo! Parade and Boo Bash at Kroc Center - Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Boo! Parade rols out at 10 a.m. starting at 59th Street, travels east along El Cajon Boulevard, crosses College Avenue, and concludes at Aragon Drive. This free family event is bigger and spookier than ever, with more floats, zombies, music and surprises. Due to economic challenges there will not be a carnival this year. But the fun doesn't stop after the parade; you can, take the family to the Ray & Joan Kroc Center for the annual Boo! Bash located just minutes from the parade at 6845 University Ave. The BOO BASH takes place from 1-4pm and includes trick or treating, carnival games, pumpkin decorating, arts and crafts and more; admission to the BOO BASH is $1 per person, cash only.

Spooky Sleepover at Lions, Tigers, and Bears-Friday & Saturday, October 25-26, 2013

Come spend a wild and ghoulish night camping in the country in Alpine with Raja, Bakari, Conga, Meatball and the rest of the gang, beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon. You supply the tents, dinner, and breakfast; they supply the s’mores. Bring a pumpkin for the pumpkin-carving contest and wear your favorite costume for the costume contest on Saturday morning!

Tickets are $60 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under.  Buy your tickets online. For more information, call 619-659-8078 and select option 2.



Pumpkin Bash at Lions, Tigers, and Bears-Saturday, October 26, 2013

This event is for members, members-for-a-day, and Spooky Sleepover guests and begins at 9:00 a.m.

At this crazy annual event, they stuff pumpkins with meat for the big cats and fruits and vegetables for the bears.  Then watch them savor these tempting, once-a-year Halloween treats! The Pumpkin Bash is free of charge for members, members-for-a-day, and kids and parents who are there for the Spooky Camp Sleepover.




The MTRP Annual Family Friendly Halloween Spooktacular-Saturday, October 26, 2013

This third annual Spooktacular will be presented by renowned storytellers Cynthia Griffin and Mary Holma from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Mission Trails Regional Park Amphitheater at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitors Center. Children are encouraged to come in costume, and each child will receive a bag of Halloween treats.

The family-friendly Spooktacular Tales features delightfully frightfully stories, ranging from the “barely scary” to the deliciously shivery. A flyer proclaims, "Gather round the outdoor amphitheater and listen to spellbinding tales under the stars. Because missing this would be a ‘grave’ mistake."

This free program offers Halloween fun for all ages,  sponsored by Team Northcutt Realtors. Seating is limited and it will be first come, first served.


Mission Trails Regional Park

Visitors Center at the Ampitheatre

One Father Junipero Serra Trail 

San Diego, CA 92119



Campo Community Center Spook and Fun House-October 25, 2013

This spooky event, which is toned down for the little kids, takes place at The Campo Community Center in Campo. The admission is $1.00 per person and a can of food for the food bank. The hours are 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Campo Community Center

976 Sheridan Rd.

Campo, CA. 91906-3133

(619) 478-5109 or 619-478-2384




Harvest and Fall Festivals


Alpine Fall Festival-Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Fall Festival in Alpine sponsored by the San Diego Business Associates will be a fun filled FREE ADMISSION family day with children's games and a bouncy, entertainment, food, silent auction, and local merchants with jewelry, crafts, and more. The festival takes place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Albertson’s Parking Lot on Alpine Blvd. and benefits The Heights Charter School in Alpine.

Part of the festival features a HOWL-O-WEEN Pet Costume Contest sponsored by Natural Instincts. Judging starts at 2 p.m. with three grand prizes of doggy daycare, dog training, and grooming.

Albertson’s Parking Lot

2955 Alpine Blvd.

Alpine, CA 91901

Cynthia Howard at (619) 354-9907


Borrego Days Desert Festival-Friday-Sunday, October 25-27, 2013

The 48th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival is a free weekend event beginning on Friday, October 25th and continuing through Sunday, Oct. 27th.  Saturday and Sunday events take place at Christmas Circle Park in Borrego Springs, CA. The event offers family entertainment, children’s area with face-painting and pony rides, classic car and motorcycle show, carnival, a Saturday parade at 10 a.m., artists, retail and food vendor booths, a beer garden, and the sounds of live entertainment floating through the desert air. Hours for Saturday are 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. and for Sunday are 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Some of the Friday events are in separate locations and are NOT at the Christmas Circle location where set-up for Saturday and Sunday will be taking place. These separate events include a Rotary Club breakfast at the Mall from 6:30-9:30 a.m., showing of a KPBS film on the desert at the Performing Arts Center at 3:00 p.m., and the Miss Borrego Springs Pageant at the Borrego Springs High School at 5:00 p.m.

The parade on Saturday will be preceded by a fly-over of two to three planes from the airport.




Palomar Mountain State Park's 3rd Annual Apple Festival-Sunday, October 27th 2013

The Park has apple trees planted by homesteading pioneers over 100 years ago, and they are still producing delicious apples to this day. Spend the day at the park to enjoy food, music, games, and arts and crafts with an apple harvest theme. Visit the apple orchards. Enjoy a day of live folk music and dancing, spinning and weaving demonstrations, period reenactors, potato sack and bean toss games, and delicious apple goodies! No charge for apples, apple goodies, or cider. Bring an apple dish to share!

Hours are 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and there is FREE ADMISSION. The regular use $8 parking fee is WAIVED for this California State Parks special interpretive and educational event. Enjoy the festival and access throughout the park all day at no charge.


19952 State Park Road

Palomar CA 92060



Plantstravaganza! at Water Conservation Garden-Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Fall Plantstravaganza!, held at the Water Conservation Garden from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. will help San Diegans make the most of the region’s fall-to-spring planting season and save water while doing it.

Retailers and growers will sell shrubs, trees, perennials, succulents and more. This year, visitors can preview a newly constructed exhibit - the Dorcas E. Utter Butterfly Pavilion--which is scheduled to come alive with butterflies in early spring 2014.  Team Butterfly will be on hand to answer the public's questions about how to create a butterfly garden.

The Rancho San Diego Farmer's Market located near The Garden, features organic produce and specialty food booths, and will be open during the Fall Plantstravaganaz. Plus, visitors can pick up holiday gifts in The Garden's gift shop.

Admission is $2 but free for Garden members and children 12 years and under.  Workshops and all activities throughout the day are included with admission (unless specified) and parking is free.  A complete program is available at the website.


Water Conservation Garden

Cuyamaca College Campus

12122 Cuyamaca College Dr W, El Cajon, CA 92019









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You forgot Campo!

Campo Community Center Spook and Fun House. 976 Sheridan Road, Campo

$1.00 and a can of food for the food bank, per person.

6PM to 9PM ( Will be toned down for the little kids. All bets are off for the big ones.)