“Dear October, I am going to make you awesome! Yours truly, Racine”

What an alluring reality October is: crunchy, burnt-orange leaves under our boots, a light chill brushing against our flushed cheeks, and children’s pumpkin carvings on all our neighbor’s front porches. October in Racine is arguably the most charming of all months.

The champion components of fall, aside from the local pumpkin-themed baking and spiced coffee treats, are the exemplary farms, orchards and estates beckoning our presence.

Hop on the hypothetical hayride and let’s tour our local homestead!

Swan’s Pumpkin Farm, open for its 40th season, is a Franksville gem and the farm of choice for my parents when I was a little one. I would go annually, eat a caramel apple as big as my head, and manage to complete the spook house with my eyes sealed shut start to finish (but still brag to friends at school of my bravery, no less). The homemade apple cider donuts are worth the trip alone, and the country market is filled with jams and jellies, crafts, gourds and fall decorations.

Apple Holler is a problem for me, in a good way; I have become obsessed! There’s nothing more nostalgic than walking through an apple field with over 30,000 trees and an empty bag ready to fill. Honeycrisp, empire, golden delicious, fuji and gala apples are all currently in season at the farm, along with pumpkins, of course! The restaurant serves up home cooking (and memories!), the store sells Door County wines and fun gifts, and all this month they’re celebrating their Apple Picking & Pumpkin Scarecrow Festival!

Jerry Smith Pumpkin Farm, located in Somers, wins the award for being the best for small children. Last year, when I attended on a Saturday afternoon, Elsa and Kristoff (portrayed by convincing actors) were singing songs from “Frozen” with hordes of children mesmerized by their every word. The farm offers pony and camel rides, play areas galore, a petting zoo, maze, a haunted forest and hand-painted pumpkin displays.

Land of the Giants, a farm situated in Sturtevant, is best for a homey feel. With a corn maze, bounce house, barrel train, army truck, and alpacas, goats and donkeys for the little ones, this is a Racine area gem known for its over-sized pumpkins! Pick away!

Paige Weslaski, born and raised in Racine, is a Pepperdine University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in leadership. Paige, 25, has lived in New York, Los Angeles, Europe and Central America, and is now working as co-owner of a marketing company in Downtown Racine.

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