For many of us, hearing the word “fall” brings up cozy images of pumpkin patches, sweaters and bright scarves, scary movies on rainy days, and colorful leaves. However, the excitement that high school students feel for this time of year is often swallowed by a whirlwind of school assignments and extracurriculars that, by December, leave them regretfully sipping peppermint mochas and wondering what happened to all of the fall festivities they had imagined.

To make this year’s fall one to remember, the M-A Chronicle has compiled a list of some of the best attractions and events the Bay Area has to offer in the next few months.

Arata Pumpkin Farm

(October 1- 31)

Photo Courtesy Plate and Pour Blog.

Photo credit to Plate and Pour Blog.

This pumpkin patch, located in Half Moon Bay, is home to the famous two-acre Minotaur’s Labyrinth Hay Maze, as well as a pumpkin “river.” It also offers dozens of varieties of pumpkins, hay rides, a petting zoo, and a six-acre corn field to explore. The many activities this pumpkin patch offers will keep people of all ages entertained, so plan a family outing or grab some friends and head over! The attraction is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and to 8 p.m. on weekends.

185 Verde Rd.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Mill Valley Film Festival

(October 6 – 16)

Photo credit to Douglas Zimmerman Photography.

Photo credit to Douglas Zimmerman Photography.

Calling all indie movie enthusiasts: founded in 1977, this internationally recognized film festival attracts both emerging and iconic talents in today’s film industry. Besides presentations of the wide array of independent films presented at multiple locations, it also features live music performances, panels, parties, and discussions with artists including Emma Stone, Damien Chazelle, and Amy Adams. Buy your tickets online and enjoy one of these sure-to-be inspiring nights.

Multiple locations

Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America

(October 14 – 29)

Photo credit to Biz Journals.

Photo credit to Biz Journals.

This Bay Area classic is an attraction not to miss in the weeks preceding Halloween; visitors can come at night and make their way through the 41 specially-themed attractions, but they should beware of the terrifying clowns and monsters creeping through the park that will be eager to catch them off guard. This attraction is open from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily (to 12 a.m. on Sundays).

4701 Great America Parkway,
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival

(October 15 – 16)

Photo credit to Baltimore Sun.

Photo credit to Baltimore Sun.

It is Half Moon Bay’s 46th year organizing this elaborate event that attracts devoted attendees and newcomers alike. The event takes place on and around Main Street, where participants enjoy contests, live music, banquet-style meals, parades, local art displays, and a fun run, among other attractions. The festival is open on both days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., allowing attendees time to celebrate their eventful day by grabbing some takeout dinner and enjoying it on the beach before heading home.

Main Street (between Miramontes and Spruce Streets)
Half Moon Bay, California 94019

Treasure Island Music Festival

(October 15 – 16)

Photo credit to Violet Fog Blog.

Photo credit to Violet Fog Blog.

Come enjoy the tenth annual and last ever music festival to be held on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. The event regularly features well-known artists such as Beck, Massive Attack, Outkast, and deadmau5, as well as a giant ferris wheel, interactive art displays, and craft workshops. Saturday consists of a primarily hip hop/rap and electronica lineup, while Sunday is filled with indie rock performances. Tickets can be found online.

Treasure Island
San Francisco, CA 94130

“Howl-O-Ween!” Treasure Island Flea Market

(October 29 – 30)

Photo credit to Fun Cheap SF.

Photo credit to Fun Cheap SF.

The Treasure Island Flea Market, open the last weekend of every month, boasts more than 400 art and “treasure” vendors, as well as more than 25 top-rated food trucks, several hands-on workshops, and live music. This month’s market, however, will also include Halloween-related festivities that have yet to be announced. The event is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and only requires $3 to enter, including free parking.

Treasure Island
San Francisco, CA 94130

Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch

(now – October 31)

Photo credit to Where Water Falls Blog.

Photo credit to Where Water Falls Blog.

Looking for a rustic pumpkin patch away from the family crowds? Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay is the place to go. This working farm just off of Highway 1 sells a wide variety of pumpkins, including the famous Atlantic Giant Pumpkin. Guests can grab their ideal carving pumpkins and take advantage of the perfect photo opportunities this patch has to offer. It is open from 9:30 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends to 5:30 p.m. daily.

850 Cabrillo Highway,
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

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