SHELTON, Conn. — For some, Halloween decorating means a hastily carved Jack-o-lantern, a bowl of fun-size Snickers and maybe a plastic skeleton hanging from the front porch.
For others, the holiday is a month-long invitation to bring on the spooky.
If you’re in the latter camp, you might want to head over to Jones Family Farms later this month for a heaping helping of the last fruits of the 2016 harvest — pumpkins.
The farm goes all out, offering hayrides and a corn maze as well as a sea of orange orbs in all manner of shapes and sizes.
“People probably come with a vision in mind of what shape they want,” said Tom Harbinson, infrastructure and facilities manager at Jones. “For every Laurel, there’s a Hardy.”
Jones officially opens for pumpkin season on Sept. 24. Guests can pick their pumpkins from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day at the Market Yard on Walnut Tree Hill Road or take a hayride to the nearby fields to scout out a favorite still on the vine.
All Jones’ pumpkins are grown on site with varieties to suit many tastes, from baseball-sized Jack-Be-Littles to enormous Jamie’s Giants. The farm grows about 25 acres of 50 varieties of orange and white pumpkins, winter squash and decorative gourds.
Home growing and curing has its benefits over store-bought pumpkins, Harbinson said.
“Because of trucking and shipping they don’t have the nice stems and character that ours do,” he said.
Fall foodies will be happy to hear the farm’s squash offerings aren’t just for carving. Jones grows a variety of tasty winter squashes, including the Kai Kai, which is considered the best producer for those who want to toast pumpkin seeds, Harbinson said.
Decorators can pick up hay bales, fall flowers, Indian corn and cornstalks at the Market Yard or stop off for some fresh apples and cider. A corn maze is available on weekends only.
The farm will host its annual UNICEF Family Festival the last weekend before Halloween. Families are encouraged to come in costume and a significant portion of the weekend’s sales proceeds goes to UNICEF.
Jones has donated more than $120,000 to the organization since the festival began in 1985.
For more information on fall activities at the farm, visit www.jonesfamilyfarms.com .
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