Carve Up Some National Parks Pumpkins This Halloween

by Lauren Boisvert

Want to carve up a fat bear this Halloween? How about a bat? Or a cute campsite? Or a bison nearly trampling a dude? Certainly, the National Park Service has you covered for all your pumpkin carving needs. Tools and pumpkin not included.

There are seven templates to choose from on the National Park Service website: The Batty One, which is a large image of a bat; The Close Encounter, which has nothing to do with aliens and everything to do with what happens when you get too close to nature; The Autumn Leaves, featuring three beautiful leaf images; The Full Moon, which showcases a howling wolf and a lone tree; The Camper, an adorable campsite with a trailer, the moon, and some trees; The Fat Bear, which is the perfect way to celebrate the end of Fat Bear Week at Katmai National Park; and lastly, The Web Designer, featuring a clever spiderweb.

Additionally, you can download one of the National Park Service’s templates, or create your own design. If you create your own, enter it in the Design Your Own Challenge for a chance to be showcased on social media. Just carve your pumpkin, snap a pic, and tag it with #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque.

Above all, what’s great about the templates on the website is they provide handy links to learn more about the subjects of the templates: how to protect bats; tips for safe wildlife watching; the best places to see autumn leaves; maps of the night sky; ways to plan a camping excursion; the results of Fat Bear Week and safety tips for encountering bears; and ways to stay connected with the parks and help preserve the habitats.

Not Near a National Park? How About the Best Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches in the U.S.

Running through a corn maze at full tilt in the middle of autumn is a spectacular sensation, one you might experience only a few times in your life. Better to make the most of it by going to the greatest corn mazes and pumpkin patches in the U.S.

First, stop off at Studt’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in Grand Junction, Colorado. The farm offers over 40 different pumpkin varieties for picking and custom-designed corn mazes. The farm has been around for 25 years, so you know they’ve practiced their techniques to perfection.

Next up, the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze in Petaluma, California grows right off the highway. Locals like to watch the corn for the mazes grow over the course of month, until finally the maze is cut and they can get in there.

Last, check out Exploration Acres in Lafayette, Indiana. The farm itself has been around since the 1920s but was only recently turned into the family fun extravaganza it is now, in 2008. Exploration Acres holds the title for Indiana’s Largest Corn Maze; if that’s not a reason for pride, I don’t know what is.