Let's face it: It isn't really October until you take the kids to a pumpkin patch.
Whether you go to pick out the perfect pumpkin for your porch, the futurejack-o'-lantern to light the path to your door or to get lost in the confusion of a corn maze, a trip to a farm just makes you feel like autumn is in the air.
The promise of cooler weather this weekend and beyond offers the perfect backdrop to all things harvest and Halloween across the region, where a cornucopia of attractions already is under way.
From pumpkin patches to corn mazes to haunted train rides, the annual immersion into all things fall and-or fearful is on through Oct. 31, and even beyond.
Here's a look at some of the larger attractions:
DELL'OSSO FAMILY FARM Through Oct. 31. This longtime family farm in Lathrop has been holding harvest events for 15 years. This year's attractions include zip lines, a mystery ride, bucking pumpkins, a haunted castle, a corn maze, a train, pumpkin blasters, gem mining, jumping pillows, spinning pumpkins, a kiddie land, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, a tractor train and a scarecrow ride. Free attractions include a hay ride, speedway, tire pyramid, maze bridges and a picnic area. A food court, seasonal decorations and photo opportunities are available. Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Dell'Osso Farms, 26 W. Stewart Road, Lathrop. Admission to the farm and parking are free; prices vary for attractions. Information can be found at www.pumpkinmaze.com. Call (209) 982-0833.
FANTOZZI FARMS Through Nov. 4. The corn mazes at this Patterson farm cover about 25 acres and include more than 5 miles of paths. Within the mazes are 12 hidden checkpoints. A haunted maze is open Friday and Saturday nights in October from 7 p.m. until closing. Also available at the farm are pig races on weekends, corn mazes, a pumpkin patch, corn cannons, cow train rides, a hay-bale maze, farm animals, hay-bale pyramids, pony rides, a picnic area and more.10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to8 p.m. Sundays. 2550 Sperry Ave., Patterson. Entrance to the pumpkin patch and parking are free; attraction tickets are $7-$12. Call (209) 892-2015; www.fantozzifarms.com.
R.A.M. FARMS PUMPKIN PATCH AND CORN MAZE Through Oct. 31. A 20-acre corn maze covers R.A.M. Farms in Turlock, with admission prices ranging from $6-$10. Freaky Flashlight Nights on Fridays and Saturdays are offered through the maze (bring your own flashlights). There are 40 varieties of pumpkins and gourds on site, along with a hay maze, pumpkin bowling, a sandbox, pedal tractors and a scary shed. Open noon to dusk weekdays, 10 a.m. to10 p.m. weekends. R.A.M. Farms, Inc., 716 N. Daubenberger Rd., Turlock; (209) 668-2425; www.ramfarms.com/pumpkin-patch.
RAILTOWN 1897 STATE HISTORIC PARK Through Oct. 31. The Harvest Haunt Express is running at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown. Complete with a skeleton crew, the journey aboard a specially decorated excursion train travels through gold country. Free pumpkins will be provided to those taking a train ride all month. Through October, Railtown is open Thursdays through Mondays from 9:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Trains run on Saturdays and Sundays, on the hour from 11 a.m. to3 p.m. Rides are $6-$13. Call (209) 984-3953 or go to www.railtown1897.org.
DUTCH HOLLOW FARMS Through Oct. 31. This large site at the Modesto-Riverbank border features a sprawling pumpkin patch, an Angry Birds corn maze, a picnic area and farm animals. Admission to the patch is free and it's open daily, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; corn mazes open at noon weekdays and cost $5-$8.5101 Oakdale Road, Modesto; (209) 456-4629.
RESENDIZ FARMS Through Oct. 31. This farm in Hughson offers a pumpkin patch and hay maze daily, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. with more events on weekends, including pony rides, face painting, a kettle corn booth, carnival games, train rides and a tricycle track from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 4342 Geer Road, Hughson; (209) 883-0100.