Tuesday 31 October 2017

Farmer Copley's Pumpkin Festival

It's hard to put my finger on when pumpkin carving became really popular in the UK. I'm sure I never did it when I was a kid. I remember carving turnips, but that may have been more to do with my dad's distrust of pumpkins as 'American', rather than a lack of availability.

Still, picking and carving pumpkins is something we've done with the kiddos now for as long as I can remember and is an integral part of out Halloween preparations. This year we headed off to Farmer Copley's Pumpkin Festival in Pontefract to get in the spooky spirit of the season!

We have been to Farmer Copleys before for Halloween, but our last visit was a couple of years ago (I think I got myself muddled up with York Maze, which is where we did our pumpkining last year, oops!) As well as a massive pumpkin patch with loads of different kinds of pumpkins to pick from, they have all the traditional ways to get parents to part with cash - small rides, face painting, candy floss - that sorta thing.

(I'm not bitter about the 'ways to get parents to part with cash' by the way, even if it sounded otherwise - 'twas free entry with no obligation so it's all good, I'm just aware of how quickly these things can tot up!)

Thankfully the only one my two were bothered about was the 'rodeo pumpkin' - something they'd remembered from a previous visit and were keen to have another go on. I secretly think I'd be awesome at this but of course wasn't about to prove it in public!

(Ok thats a lie, I'm very aware that I'd be terrible at it!)

Anyway, pumpkin time! As mentioned, entry was free so if you just wanted lots of pumpkiny pictures for instagram you could wander round to your hearts content, posing away.

Not good enough for these two though, they wouldnt be happy 'til they were covered heard to toe in pumpkin goo! (Yes, there is a very good reason we tend to leave the house to do the pumpkins, those things are messy!)

I don't know why but they seem obsessed with finding the biggest pumpkins they can, with no thought to texture or shape. Thankfully I managed to reign them in a little - by telling them they would have to carry their chose massive pumpkin round with them for the rest of the day (you could actually borrow wheelbarrows for the carting around of pumpkins but I definitely downplayed that possibility as to avoid going home with the two biggest pumpkins - and most expensive, they were charged on size - in the field!)

Thankfully they settled on a couple of somewhat sensibly sized pumpkins, and got to work on hollowing them out. Despite my suggestions of carefully planning an idea before hacking away, I suggest that's not exactly what happened! Still, a big of improvisation and a bit of imagination and we ended up with a not-very-scary pug and a cat! 

It would be a poor day out if we didn't make a tea and cake stop off, so we made a move to the café before heading off. It's moved from its previous spot in the farm shop to a much bigger site just next door, and is a bit less cosy but probably easier to find a table on a busy day like this one!

I've never (!?!) had a pumpkin spiced latte, or a pumpkin spiced anything actually so we ordered a slice of the pumpkin spiced latte cake to split between us. This worked out really well for me as neither of the kids were keen so I got to eat pretty much all of it myself, woo! (Don't feel sorry for them, they got treats from the farm shop to take home so were not badly done by!)

As the kids get older it's getting a little harder to find Halloween activities that suit both of them (the littlest one is a massive scaredy cat so is not interested in anything that might actually be the vaguest bit spooky!) so it was lovely to get another good pumpkin session out of the pair! Here's hoping for another one next year! 

PS My dad has informed me that it was a swede that we would carve up as kids! 


  1. Beautiful photos here as always Kel, this looks like such a fun day out! Funnily enough, I never used to carve pumpkins when I was younger as we didn't ever celebrate Halloween but now I'm older we seem to do more for it, but no pumpkins for us this year as we left it too late! Would love to do this at some point though, looks like loads of fun. Hope you had a Happy Halloween! - Tasha

    1. You'll have to make sure you get in early next Halloween!

  2. Sounds like a fun day out. This year we didn't go to pick our own pumpkin, but we bought a few from the supermarket. I enjoy these traditions a lot, even though they are new to me.
    I've read on English Heritage's website that turnips were carved before the whole pumpkin idea started. :)

    1. They are a LOT cheaper from the supermarket!

  3. Fabulous...and oh my goodness - Harry & Em are looking SO grown up!! x


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