By Sofia Aparicio-Gallagher
It’s officially fall, and the humid hot weather and tropical rain doesn’t prevent fun activities. There are plenty of ways to celebrate fall in the Tampa Bay area this year. Local businesses host pumpkin patches, fall festivals, and farmer’s markets. For those in need of a scare, there are numerous haunted houses. So, put on a comfy autumn outfit and start exploring.
Gallagher’s Pumpkins & Tree Patch, located in St. Petersburg, Florida, is ready for fall enthusiasts. The business is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. This lovely, small patch was started over 30 years ago and is still family-owned by the Gallaghers. There are fall-themed photo areas located inside the patch, perfect for selfies. Wandering around and taking photos is my favorite part of the adventure. Visitors can buy pumpkins or have the pumpkin of their choice shipped home. During your visit don’t forget to pick up a sweet fall-themed treat like kettle corn or an apple pie.
Dave’s Christmas Lot, opening Oct. 1, loves to celebrate every holiday. The lot is open Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Brandon, Florida. Let the fall smells and hay bales transport you to a cool, windy day. The locally grown pumpkins and gourds come in various sizes and can easily fit in dorms or small apartments. Don’t get lost wandering through the patch, you never know when a scarecrow might attack.
For students looking to stay in the area, Armature Works Fall Fest will be held Oct. 14-15 and21-22. This free event includes food and drink vendors along with live music. The proximity to The University of Tampa makes it a perfect day event. Another close option is Hyde Park Village Pumpkin Patch. Starting Sept. 29, through Oct. 26 the patch will be open in Village Circle. All proceeds go to The Humane Society of Tampa Bay; so, the whole community benefits from a pumpkin purchase. While attending the patch there are numerous other pop-up venues and restaurants to pursue.
For a pumpkin patch and haunted house check out, the Rapraeger Family Farm Pumpkin Patch. Located in Odessa, Florida, this patch includes ax throwing, pumpkin painting, live entertainment, and even a farmers’ market. This year the patch is taking festivities very seriously and introducing The Goblin Market. Small businesses are selling their charming goodies and psychics are waiting with their tarot cards. The farm gets creepier as the night goes on; after 11 p.m. on Saturdays in October, the farm turns haunted.
If you really want to be spooked, go to Ybor’s Murder House. This haunted house will leave visitors screaming for their lives. The rich history of Ybor City makes it the perfect location to be frightened. The age restriction is 21 and above and a $20 admission fee is needed at the door. The Murder House donates 10% of admission sales to charity, so guests are spooked for a good cause. Scream-A-Geddon is another Halloween horror park in Dade City, Florida. Scream-A-Geddon is known to be frightening with five spooky haunted houses.
After all this exploring, I am going to turn on a scary movie and sip some warm apple cider. Fall is my favorite season to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. There are numerous activities for everyone to enjoy.