Grider Pumpkin Patch in Perkins greets its visitors with a jack-o-lantern painting and llamas.
A number of families in the area use this 45-acre patch as a venue to fulfill family traditions.
Shawny Noteboom, a grandmother from McAllister, brought her two grandsons to Grider on Tuesday. She explained that she used to take her son to a similar place in California when he was a boy.
“I have to do it for the next generation,” she said.
Jacqi Noteboom, the daughter-in-law, carried her 2-month-old through the crops before setting him on the ground to let him chew on a pumpkin. She said that the family planned to make the visit a tradition.
Wayne Grider owns the farm that began in 1993. He explained that he loves the regularity of his customers.
“It’s fun having a business where people are happy to give you their money,” he said. “People come back every year!”
The farm grows and sells other crops in the off-season. During pumpkin season, they plant between 2,000 and 3,000. Last year, they sold so many pumpkins that they had to import more from a farm in Texas.
He has been adding attractions to his patch. Ten years ago, he added a corn maze. There is a small petting zoo that has two llamas, two ponies, and two goats, all of which are usually friendly. He said the billy goat liked to be pet like a dog.
“We’ve only had a llama spit on someone once,” he said. “A 4-year-old was relentlessly taunting and screaming at a llama. Suddenly, it raised its lip over its teeth- a sure sign of spitting- and did it. After his parents cleaned off his face, he resumed his yelling.”
Older kids were enjoying themselves as well.
“You can dig their guts out and get all dirty,” said Lila Whitter, a 10-year-old from Morrison.
Her mother, Deanna Whitten, brought all of her children to the patch.
Although she has been to patches all over the country, she said she enjoys Grinder in particular. “You actually get to pick out your own pumpkin,” she said excitedly.
Whitten’s best friend, Rachel Allen, is a second grade teacher at Will Rogers. She was buying a few for her class. The class is going to use them to estimate weight and number of seeds.
The pair brings their families together to carve jack-o-lanterns and make food with the inside. They have made pumpkin cookies and pumpkin bread, both of which are “pretty easy”.
Grider also sells squash and goods.
“They’re good for decoration; our house is always decorated,” Allen said.
She watched her children tear across the patch in search for their last pumpkin for Halloween.