Nothing says fall like the colorful sight of a pumpkin, be it sitting in a field wrapped in vines or carved and glowing on a front porch. Orange County fully embraces Halloween season via various pumpkin patches, many offering extra seasonal fun beyond finding "the great pumpkin." Here are 8 of the best pumpkin patches near Huntington Beach, plus a few carving ideas to boot.

U-Pick Pumpkin Patch at Tanaka Farms: Irvine
A favorite among Huntington Beach locals, the Tanaka Farms U-Pick Pumpkin Patch in Irvine is one of the few spots where guests can pick pumpkins right off the vine. It costs $2 to enter (free for active military and children 2 and under), parking is free, and pumpkins are priced based on weight. Other activities include a free corn maze, $5 wagon ride, and $3 petting zoo. Founded in 1940, the 30-acre farm also offers u-pick veggies for $2.99 per pound along with seasonal decor, like hay bales, corn stalks, dried Indian Corn, and mini gourds. Every weekend during pumpkin season welcomes the Harvest Festival, complete with a pumpkin cannon, eats, games, and ATV rides. The 15th Annual Pumpkinmania takes place on Sunday, October 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and features the Heaviest Giant Pumpkin contest. Sandals, flip-flops, open-toed shoes, and high heels are prohibited, so footwear should be planned accordingly. Pets and wagons are also no-gos at the farm.

Tanaka Farms is located at 5380 3/4 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612, 949-653-2100. Hours through October 30 are seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Halloween hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pa's Pumpkin Patch: Long Beach
Though technically located at the southern tip of Los Angeles County, Pa's Pumpkin Patch in Long Beach takes over the field at Pacific Coast Highway and Studebaker-just over the bridge from Seal Beach-every year and has become a favorite with Huntington Beach residents. Whether it's the welcoming banjo beats on the event or prime location, Pa's keeps crowds returning year after year. Pumpkins pre-picked from the farm line the lot and are priced by weight. Haystacks, corn stalks, and gourds are also for sale. Various new rides and games entertain little ones, along with a petting zoo, pony rides, and a snack bar. Ride currency comes in the form of tickets, which cost $20 for 10, $40 for 20, $50 for 30, and $2.25 for individual. Riders will shell out between one and three tickets per ride. Check Groupon and Yelp for deals.

Pa's Pumpkin Patch is located at 6701 East Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA 90803, 562-596-7741. Hours through October 16 are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. From October 17 through October 30, hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Halloween hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Irvine Park Railroad's Pumpkin Patch: Orange
Located at the historic Irvine National Park, this pumpkin patch sprouts up behind the train station and wins for scenery and activities. Admission to the patch is free, and pre-picked pumpkins are priced by weight. Entertainment includes a free haunted house and hay maze; train, hay and pony rides; pumpkin ring toss; John Deere tractor racers; Halloween bounce house; cookie decorating; carnival games; face painting; panning for gold; food; and other nearby fun, like the Orange County Zoo. Activity tickets cost $5, and most activities require one ticket. Irvine Regional Park parking fees apply to pumpkin patch guests and cost $3 on weekdays, $5 on weekends, and $7 on holidays.

Irvine Park Railroad is located at 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869, 714-997-3968. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Take a train ride through the pumpkin patch at the Irvine Park Railroad's Pumpkin Patch.



Johnson Brothers Pumpkin Patch: Irvine
Due to construction at the Irvine Valley College Campus, the Johnson Brothers pumpkin season will be shortened this year, opening on Tuesday, October 21, and operating through Halloween. But that doesn't mean it's not worth a visit! Admission and parking are free, and pre-picked pumpkins ranging in size from mini to monster are priced by weight. Entertainment includes a petting zoo, hay loft, Indian village, kids play area, Halloween bouncing bags, and face painting. Tickets cost $1.50 each, and most activities require between two and four tickets. A bounce house coupon is available online here. For adults, a "harvest decorating headquarters" offers pumpkins, squash, gourds, Indian corn, cornstalk bundles, scarecrows, wreaths, and more for purchase.

Johnson Brothers Pumpkin Patch is located at 15500 Jeffrey Road, Irvine, CA 92618, 949-733-0650. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

The Johnson Brothers Pumpkin Patch has so many pumpkins to choose from!

Pumpkinpalooza at Zoomars Petting Zoo: San Juan Capistrano
Now in its 10th year, Zoomars Petting Zoo transforms into a farm-style pumpkin patch where guests can select pre-picked pumpkins starting at $4, and also adorn them inside the Decorating Pavilion. Guests can also pet and feed the 100-plus animals that call the rustic Spanish-style farm home. Other activities include horse, pony, and mini-train rides, as well as a hay maze and corn pit. Admission costs $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 for children, and $7 for military.

Zoomars Petting Zoo is located at 31791 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675, 949-831-6550. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Zoomars Pumpkinpalooza has friendly animals and pumpkins galore--the perfect recipe for a day of family fun!

The Pumpkin Factory: Corona, Santa Ana, Westminster
Though the name might be misleading, The Pumpkin Factory features pumpkins grown on and picked from a family farm. There are three locations this year: at the 15 Freeway and Magnolia in Corona, Westfield Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, and Westminster Mall. Admission and parking are free, and pumpkins are priced by weight. Each lot offers 13 rides and attractions, as well as ponies, face painting, games, a petting zoo, and a snack bar. Ticket packages range from $.73 to $1 per ticket, and rides cost between two and four tickets. Coupons and specials can be found online here.

For The Pumpkin Factory hours and locations, click here. More info available on each location's Facebook page here.

This picturesque pumpkin patch is perfect to visit in the evening too!

Pumpkin City's Pumpkin Farm: Anaheim, Laguna Hills, Rancho Santa Margarita
Laguna Hills Mall houses the main Pumpkin City Pumpkin Farm Harvest Festival, with satellite locations in both Anaheim and Rancho Santa Margarita. Admission and parking are free at all three locations, which offer pre-picked pumpkins priced by weight. Activities at the satellite locations vary, but here are just a few of the events happening on the main stage: food, $2.60 petting zoo, Puppets & Players Little Theatre, $6.50 pony rides, panning for gold, geode discovery, and various other amusement rides and games. Ride, activity, and game tickets cost $1.10 each, and most require three to eight tickets.

Pumpkin City's Main Pumpkin Farm is located at 24203 Avenida de la Carlota, Laguna Hills, CA 92653, 949-586-5862. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For satellite location addresses and hours, click here for locations.

U-Pick Pumpkin Patch at Woodhill Firewood: Irvine
Woodhill Firewood, a tree maintenance and firewood company, offers the rare opportunity to pick pumpkins fresh off the vine. Pumpkins are priced by weight, and while the patch doesn't come with the typical entertainment hoopla, it invites guests to reconnect with nature and remember where pumpkins come from. Pumpkin pickers may luck out and be serenaded by a bearded and mustachioed man playing a banjo. The cash-only checkout station is quite charming too.

U-Pick Pumpkin Patch is located at 16501 Bake Parkway, Irvine, CA 92618, 949-837-9663. Hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pumpkin Carving Ideas
Once you pick your perfect pumpkin, it's time to start carving! Some pumpkin patches offer carving sets, as do Halloween stores, department stores, and drugstores. If you're taking your pumpkin carving skills to the next level this year, Home Depot offers a Dremel 6-Volt Cordless Rotary Tool Pumpkin Carving Kit for $25. Or you can simply pull out the old knives and scooping spoons from last year and get to it. Here are 10 ideas for Huntington Beach fans, ranging in difficulty.

1) Huntington Beach Pier
2) Favorite Surf City Surf Dog®
3) Favorite surfer
4) Shaka
5) Wave
6) "The Endless Summer" poster
7) Coyote
8) "Surf City USA"
9) A beautiful Huntington Beach sunset
10) Join the fandom carving craze and dedicate your pumpkin to your favorite film character of 2014. We're sharpening our knives for Gustave from "The Grand Budapest Hotel."