Spice It Up

Fall festivals for the whole family

By Samantha Georgson | Photo courtesty of Schuster’s Farm

As the days grow shorter and the air turns delightfully crisp, Wisconsinites gear up for a festive fall season. At the first hint of changing leaves, local markets line their shelves with spiced cider, and families bundle up in big sweaters before heading out to check items off their fall bucket lists.

TRICKS AND TREATS AT SCHUSTER’S FARM

If you’re looking for a place that offers fall festivities both day and night, check out Schuster’s Farm. There are good times to be had around every corner of the Wisconsin-themed corn maze which expands across eight acres. Food trucks, a canteen and the bakery barn offer lots of yummy eats. In the evening, bring a group of friends and reserve a bonfire for roasting s’mores. After dark pull out your flashlights for another go at the corn maze under the moonlight or send the teens into the PG-13 haunted forest. schustersfarm.com.

PUMPKINS FOR A CAUSE AT OAK BANK’S GREAT PUMPKIN GIVEAWAY

Bring the whole family out to Oak Bank’s green space at 5951 McKee Road in Fitchburg Saturday, Oct. 13, for its Annual Great Pumpkin Giveaway. Grab your favorite pick of the patch just in time for Halloween, while supporting the Access Community Health Centers. After pumpkin-picking your family can enjoy kids’ activities, carriage rides, refreshments and a Fun Play Inflatable bounce house. It’s a can’t-miss event, and if you’re lucky you’ll even get to meet a few of your favorite Wisconsin mascots. oakbankonline.com.

HOLLOW-EEN AT CAVE OF THE MOUNDS

From Oct. 25-31, this National Natural Landmark is all decked out for a festive Halloween celebration with fun, family-oriented events. Come out for a Trick-or-Treat Cave Tour where your little ones can scour the candle-lit caverns for gemstone and fossil-like treats—bonus prizes for the best costumes. You can also challenge your family to complete the Kooky Karst Scavenger Hunt or dig for buried bones. If you find some worth trading, exchange them for an authentic chunk of fossilized dinosaur bone! caveofthemounds.com.

OLD-FASHIONED FESTIVITIES AT  SCHUMACHER FARM PARK

Schumacher’s puts the heritage in Halloween. Bring the whole family out for a traditional celebration on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. involving old-fashioned games and crafts, storytelling and s’mores. Kids of all ages are welcome for hayrides, face painting and fortune telling. But be warned, things start to get spooky around 6:30 p.m. when the ghosts and ghouls come out to play. schumacherfarmpark.org.

ANIMALS, MAZES AND MORE AT EUGSTER’S FARM MARKET AND PETTING FARM

If your kids love petting zoos and picking pumpkins, Eugster’s Farm Market and Petting Farm is the place to be. Kids can play with kittens, pet the pigs and even feed the goats or milk the cow in the barn. On weekends, Eugster’s hosts its fall festival, where the whole family can catch a hayride out to pick some pumpkins from the patch. Puppet shows, magic shows and a G-rated haunted house offer more fun. Afterward, you’ll want to head back to the barn to cozy up with some of the best apple cider donuts in town, and if you stick around long enough you might just witness the winner of the giant pumpkin contest. eugsters.com.