The Best Pumpkin Experiences in Chicagoland

Charlie Brown waited all night in a patch for some pumpkin excitement, but you don’t have to.  There are so manyFall themed activities out there but I have narrowed down the absolute BEST pumpkin experiences in Chicagoland.  And even better?  I’ve rounded them up for you in one comprehensive list.  No need to seek out which pumpkin patch is the best, oh no.  Instead, figure out what you want to get out of your trip to see pumpkins in Chicagoland and then head on out.

Best U-Pick Pumpkin Experience—Stade’s Farm and Market, McHenry

Why the U Pick experience is so great: Take a fun and scenic hay ride around the farm out to the pumpkin patches.  There you can find rows upon rows of unique orange orbs and take them off the vine yourself.  Don’t miss out on the great photo opps in the pumpkin field so you two can pretend to be Charlie Brown and Linus.  And if you want to, then head over to the amusement area of the farm.  I love how they are separated for a quick getaway if need be.


Best Pumpkin Experience within City Limits—Chicago Park District Patches in the Parks

The Chicago Park District is setting up different pumpkin patches in parks around the city this Fall.  You can complete some fun Fall themed activities, pick pumpkins, and take some good photos all without leaving the city. Check the above link for the patch and Halloween festivities nearest to you!

Credit: The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest

Best Record Breaking Jack o Lantern Display—Highwood Pumpkin Fest


This (hopefully) Guinness World Record Breaking jack o lantern lighting display is truly a community event with a great cause.  The goal is to display over 31,000 carved and lit pumpkins to shine a light on 52,000 individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disease in Illinois.  The pumpkins will be lit each night during the fest with the record breaking attempt at 5:30 on Sunday, and there will be lots of family friendly activities with all proceeds benefiting Make a Wish Illinois.


Most Unique Pumpkin Experiences—Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch, Hampshire (or South Barrington)

Goebbert’s has some unique attractions, including a pumpkin cannon and the ever impressive pumpkin eating dinosaur.  These only occur at certain times during the day, so be sure to check the schedule when planning your day.  There are also opportunities to pick your pumpkins off the vine, as well as kid friendly attractions.

Artistic and Beautiful Pumpkin Displays—The Glass Pumpkin Patch at the Morton Arboretum, Lisle

Oooh and aah over some stunning glass blown art during the glass pumpkin patch exhibit.  At special times local artisans will be on hand to model glass blowing techniques as well.  There are opportunities to purchase your own glass blown pumpkin, as well as hunt for trolls!


Skylines, Pumpkins, oh my!–Pier Pumpkin Lights at Navy Pier

Visit the newly remodeled Navy Pier to not only dine, shop, and play but also to explore the spooky pumpkin displays set up all throughout the pier. This installation will be up all month, with special light details that appear once the sun goes down.


Best Pumpkin Themed Bang for Your Buck—Johansen Farm’s Children’s Zoo, Bolingbrook

You can really stretch your dollar f a r at Johansen Farm’s Children’s Zoo.  There is no admission fee to enter the market, pumpkin patch, and Fall decorated area that is perfect for family photos and making memories.  You pay one flat fee (kids under two are free and senior/military discounts are valid every day) to include all attractions.  Weekday charge is $9.95, weekend charge is $14.95.


Most Impressive Jack-O-Lantern Displays–Night of 1,000 Jack-O-Lanterns

This popular event at the Chicago Botanic Garden is the largest local display of carved pumpkins. Your jaws will drop upon seeing the intricate designs–from whimsical to spooky to sports related, there is a pumpkin for everyone to admire!


Looking for other Fall fun?  Then be sure to check out my list of Fall Favorites!


Happy Halloween!


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  1. Angelic Sinova says

    I live in Chicago and I’m so bummed I’ll be missing the Highwood Pumpkin Fest (I’ll be in NYC that week.) There’s just so many amazing things to do in Chicago, that’s why I live the city so much <3

    • amandasimkin says

      I’m really excited to see the glass pumpkin patch at the Morton Arboretum (as well as the gorgeous Fall colors) this year. Thankfully my boys LOVE art so they will be excited to see it as well.

  2. Polarbelle says

    I bought a couple blown glass pumpkins this year and they’re a cool way to mix it up for fall. You make me want to visit Chicago this month and have some fun!!

    • amandasimkin says

      The really awesome thing is that the Morton Arboretum is giving away a four pack of tickets to the arboretum, which includes their gorgeous glass pumpkin patch, on my Facebook page this week. Be sure to check it out!

  3. Alli says

    Wow – that’s a lot of pumpkin fun! I wish I lived closer so I could visit some of these unique pumpkin places. Fall is such a fun time of the year!

  4. NYC SingleMom says

    I wished I lived in Chicago because I love this list my favorite and unique choice is the record breaking Jack o Lantern Display at the Highwood Pumpkin Fest. Love the photo, just so cool, what an experience to see that in person.

    • amandasimkin says

      Words can’t describe how cool it is. It is such a fun thing to see with your own eyes–and all for a great cause!

  5. Alex says

    Holy cow. I want to live in your area for all of those pumpkin places and activities. I’m very jealous! The picture of the pumpkin stack is awesome!!

    • amandasimkin says

      Hopefully the jack o lantern display will break the Guinness record this year. If not, at least a TON of money will be raised for an outstanding Autism resource for families in Illinois.

  6. Heather says

    That looks like so much fun! We went to our Cornucopia festival a few weekends ago. But it was hot! I wanted to leave. It felt like a summer thing, not a celebration of fall. I love fall photos and I hope I can get some pictures taken this year with my family.

    • amandasimkin says

      It is so great that in Chicagoland there are so many different types of patches and pumpkin activities to choose from.

  7. Kayla says

    Wow you guys sure do go crazy for Halloween and pumpkins! I never seen so many in all my life! In AUS we are lucky to have candy for the trick or treaters! It would be so amazing to experience it in all its glory! I’ll have to go to USA in OCT i think! Thanks for sharing – seriously awesome!!! x

  8. Tyra says

    This is such a great list of what look like fun experiences! I am actually going to post this for all of my friends and family at home.

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