Earlier this month, we took our children to a local pumpkin patch to pick out their Halloween pumpkins. Boy, have pumpkin patches changed since we were kids. There were three or four bouncy houses, two train rides, a haunted house, three pony ride, a hay ride (ok, they had this when I was a kid) and, oh, pumpkins. We walked into the "farm" and I told the boys to pick out a pumpkin. They ran to the pumpkins all excited, quickly grabbed one - yelling "this is the one" and then sprinted in opposite directions: one to the bouncy houses and one to the train ride. What?!?
Growing up, going to the pumpkin patch was a big treat. It was all about picking the perfect pumpkin for your very own jack-o-lantern. Not so these days. Even pumpkin patches set up in parking lots of inflatable slides and bouncy houses. The pumpkins are an afterthought.
That day at the farm, we let the kids play and enjoy the rides. We did not get a pumpkin though. Instead, this morning, we trundled out to the car and drove to a quiet field where they actually grow the pumpkins right there. It was exactly the experience I was looking for. No rides - though they unfortunately did have a bouncy house. We just said no to the bouncy house and told the kids we're here for pumpkins. They also had a very small petting zoo - all the better for me to persuade hubby to get some chickens! ;-)
Anyway, my oldest (Mr. Active) ran and ran and ran through the giant field searching for his "perfect pumpkin" - an extra large one. My little one picked up little pumpkins, one after the other, trying to load them all into the wheelbarrow. It was so like Halloween when I was a girl and I was so happy to share that special experience with my children - without all the excesses that rob our children of life's simple pleasures. You have to seek out these experiences - they are harder and harder to come by without some effort.