Fall means the return of roasted corn, perfect pumpkins and encounters with friendly ghosts. Here are some Long Island farms and nurseries offering all-ages fun.
Go moonlight pumpkin picking
Every Saturday in October from 6 to 9:30 p.m., families can enjoy moonlight pumpkin picking geared toward children ages 12 and younger at Organics Today Farm in East Islip. "We’re one of the few places you can come to at night and not be scared," says owner Mike Massina. "The whole place is decorated and lit up, but the pumpkin patch is dark." Families use their own flashlights in the pumpkin field.
Hayrides will be available and a la carte refreshments include roasted corn, apple cider doughnuts and pumpkin muffins. Admission is $3 per person; hayrides are an additional $3 per person. Small pumpkins are $3.50, larger ones are 75 cents per pound. The venue also is open for pumpkin picking from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; there is no admission fee during the day. The farm is at 169 Washington St., East Islip; 631-480-6497, organicstodayfarms.com.
Tour the farm
Benner's Farm in East Setauket is a mid-Suffolk destination for fall activities such as hayrides and pumpkin picking. During the pandemic, the farm also has offered private group tours by appointment for family-friendly experiences such as visiting and feeding animals, picking pumpkins and winter season maple sugaring demonstrations. Future plans depend on the latest coronavirus situation. "We have to wait to see what's happening with COVID," says co-owner Jean Benner. The farm is at 56 Gnarled Hollow Rd., East Setauket; 631-689-8172, bennersfarm.com.
Ride the animal train
Albert H. Schmitt Family Farms in Dix Hills will once again offer its fall activities seven days a week this year, says co-owner Jean Schmitt. "We're a small farm. If you're looking for an experience without the huge crowds, it's a more manageable farm. It's nice for kids and grandparents," Schmitt says.
The farm will offer its tractor-pulled "animal train" ride, with seats decorated like animals, including a pig, goose and elephant. Kids can race rubber duckies, controlled by pumping water in a gutter, take a hayride and, of course, pick pumpkins. Food offerings include roasted corn, cider doughnuts and candy apples.
Visitors pay $5 to enter the pumpkin patch, which includes rubber duck racing. Other entertainment is a la carte. The farm is at 6 Bagatelle Rd., Dix Hills; 631-549-3276, schmittsonbagatelle.com.
Pick pumpkins — and sunflowers
A pick-your-own sunflower field joins the pumpkin patch at Garden of Eve Organic Farm and Market in Riverhead.
Hayrides run between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekends; the Fun Field offers a bounce pad for the kids, hayrides, an air-powered potato cannon that shoots at targets, and a chance to see animals including sheep, goats, pig, turkeys, chickens and ducks. The Fun Field is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Admission is $7.95 per person older than 2 on weekdays and $9.95 on weekends; sunflowers are $1 per stalk. The potato cannon is $5 for three potatoes of ammunition. The on-site craft brewery is open for adults from noon to 6 p.m., says co-owner Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht. The farm is at 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead; 631-722-8777, gardenofevefarm.com.
Meet a friendly ghost
Otto the Ghost returns to Hicks Nurseries in Westbury with a new, animated story. The walk-through unfolds indoors, says Karen Musgrave, marketing coordinator. Families can experience Otto daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Oct. 31; to take a socially distanced picture with a friendly Otto, come on weekends between 10 a.m. to noon or from 1 to 4 p.m.
It’s all free, but Hicks asks visitors to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to Long Island Cares. Refreshments can be purchased to go, including apple cider, kettle corn, pies, fudge-dipped doughnuts, fudge, character cookies and more. On weekends, The Hicks Food Truck will offer fall festival food.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the usual hayrides, crafts, games and visits with farm animals will not be available. The nursery is at 100 Jericho Tpke., Westbury; 516-334-0066, hicksnurseries.com.
Get a face — or an arm — painted
Face painting and arm painting will be offered at Stakey's Pumpkin Farm during this year’s weekend events, says co-owner Regina Stakey. Pumpkin picking, hayrides, a corn maze, duck racing and cut-out-face photo placards round out the activities, Stakey says. Pets will not be allowed this year.
Activities are pay as you go. Weekends and school holiday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekdays are noon to 5 p.m. with all activities except face and arm painting available. The farm is at 270 West Lane, Aquebogue; 631-722-3467, stakeyspumpkinfarm.com.