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A large pumpkin waits for the 2008 season to begin at Roca Berry Farm in this photo taken last September. The farm is one of several family-friendly options now opening in the region. (Journal Star file photo)

There is barely that nip in the air, yet fall is upon us in all of its pumpkin-shaped, corn maze and haunted-house glory.

Here's a listing of some of the area patches, haunts and special events for marking the season.

Roca Berry Farm

Address: Near Roca. Follow the pumpkin signs from 54th Street and Saltillo Road to the farm.

Hours: 9 a.m. to sunset daily, Saturday through Oct. 31.

Activities: A new Haunted Manor, 40-foot slide, haunted barns, life-size Candyland game, house of illusions, roller racers, straw jumping pile, Bunnyville, trike trails, Hillbilly bowling, pig races on weekends and bounce house.

Roca Scary Farm: The farm comes alive Friday and Saturday nights beginning Oct. 2 and will be open nightly Oct. 23-30. It features The Psycho Path (not for children under 10), Haunted Hayrack Ride (recommended for most ages) and the new Haunted Manor. Tickets are on sale from 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Admission: Pumpkin patch: $7 on weekends; $5.25 during the week; Roca Scary Farm, $13 per person.

Info: 421-2255 or

Vala's Pumpkin Patch

Address: 12102 S. 180th St., Gretna.

Hours: 9 a.m to 9 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, starting Friday through Nov. 1.

Activities: Pumpkin-eating dragon show, Pigtucky Derby pig races, hayride to the pumpkin fields, pumpkin jump, Lost Pumpkin Mine, Haunted Graveyard, maze, petting corral, spook shed, Pirate's Cove, Haunted Farmhouse, Pumpkinapolis 500 and pony, train, tractor and peddle car rides.

Admission: $12.25 per person Thursdays through Sundays; $9 per person Mondays through Wednesdays; free age 2 and under. Family season pass is $27 per person.

Info: (402) 332-4200 or

Bellevue Berry & Pumpkin Ranch

Address: 11001 S. 48th St., Papillion.

Hours: The new season kicks off from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with "How the West Was Fun Festival." From Oct. 2-31 the ranch is open for daytime and nighttime hayrack rides.

"How the West Was Fun Festival" celebrates all things cowboy and fall with cowboy shootouts, country/western entertainers, pig races, hayrack rides, pumpkin face painting, western dancing exhibitions, comedy singers, talent competition, apple pie bakeoff, craft fair, farmers market, ax and knife tossing and BBQ BlowOut featuring ribs and turkey.

Visitors also get a sneak peek at the Ranch of Terror attractions, featuring more than two hours of haunts.

Ranch of Terror is open starting at dusk Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31, as well as Oct. 28-29.

Admission: Ranch: $10 for adults; $6 kids 5 to 12; free for 4 and under. Ranch of Terror: $10 each haunted hayrack ride and trails of fears; $25 for a combo pass with food.

Other events: Midlands Pirate Festival, Oct. 10-11; and Costume Weekend, Oct. 30-31. Costume-wearing visitors receive a discount.

Info: (402) 331-5500, or

Other pumpkin patches

-- Bloom Where You're Planted Farm and Pumpkin Patch, Avoca. Hours: 1 to 6 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission: $4; $3 with military ID. Info: www.BloomPumpkin or (402) 267-4104.

Special events:

- Saturday and Sunday - Photo Days, 1 to 5 p.m. with Snyder Photography of Elmwood. Call (402) 994-5605 or e-mail for an appointment. Drop-ins welcome.

- Oct. 4 - Scout Day. Free admission for children wearing any part of their scout uniform.

- Oct. 10-Doggy Day. Bring your dog (on a leash). Doggy admission $4 benefits the Capital Humane Society. Dog treats and water will be provided.

- Oct. 11 - 4-H Day. 4-H members (with identification or uniform) receive free admission.

- Oct. 17 - Ag Day. Demonstrations, contests and activities with the Conestoga High School FFA.

- Oct. 31 - Halloween Party. Activities start at 10:15 a.m. with Goblin's Egg Hunt (for children 12 and under). Children in costume receive a trick-or-treat goody bag.

- Nov. 1 - Stock-up Sale. Fill a wagon with all the pumpkins and squash it will hold for $10.

-- The Pumpkin Patch, 28614 O St., Eagle. Hours: Dawn until dusk daily through Oct. 31. Info: (402) 994-4305.

-- Sunwest Farm Pumpkin Patch, 4851 N. 84th St. Opens Oct. 1. Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Free admission. Take a hayrack ride into the field. Other activities: bouncy house, apple sling, pumpkin bowling and paintball shooting. Info: 464-4633.

Other attractions

-- Corn Maze at Benson Farms, 6000 S.W. 140th St., Denton. Open Friday through Nov. 1. Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays; noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. Halloween hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Oct. 30 and noon to 10 p.m. Oct. 31.

The 54-acre maze contains 14.88 miles of trails in four phases ranging from easy to moderately difficult.

Beginning Oct. 9, the maze gets haunted on Friday and Saturday nights after dark. Fright Nights are intended for youth 12 and older.

Cost: $9 ages 12 and up ($10 for haunted maze); $8 for college students with ID ($9 for haunted maze); $7 ages 4 to 11 ($8 for haunted maze); and free for children ages 3 and under.

Info: (402) 795-3276 or

-- "Carnival of Fear" haunted house, 1800 State Fair Park (Grandstand), Lincoln. Open 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 9-10, 16-17, 23 through 31.

Cost: $10; $1 off coupon available on Web site.

-- "Twilight Woods," haunted woods at the Boy Scout Council Outdoor Education Center, 600 S. 120th St., Walton. Hours: 7 to 10:30 p.m. Oct. 29-31.

This features a Scare Trail for older kids (not super scary) and Twilight Theater for all ages.

Cost: $10 for the Scare Trail; $5 for Twilight Theater; $13 for both.

Info: 488-6020 Ext. 200 or


-- Halloween Camps at YMCA Camp Kitaki. Open to ages 7 to 14. Camp dates: Oct. 16-17; 17-18; 23-24; 24-25; and 30-31. Costume dances, haunted barn, spooky trail, storytelling and daytime activities. Cost: $42. Info: 434-9222 or

Special events

-- Stuff a Scarecrow Workshops, Lincoln Children's Museum, 1420 P St. Times: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 8; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 9; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 10; and 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 11. All the materials and clothing will be provided to make a life-size scarecrow. Cost: $25. Reservations recommended. Info: 477-4000.

-- Halloween Family Day, YMCA Camp Kitaki. Date: 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 11. Pumpkin carving, cookout, face-painting and hayrack rides. Cost: $5. Info: 434-9222 or

-- Hayrack Rides, Pioneers Park Nature Center. Dates: Now through Oct. 24. Reservations and pre-payment required. Includes 40-minute ride, campfire with naturalist program and hot cocoa. Cost: $6 per person. Not recommended for children 2 and under. Info: 441-7895.

-- Great Pumpkin Party, Arbor Day Farm, Nebraska City. Date: 1 to 6 p.m. Oct. 24. No-scare fun. Great Pumpkin Hunt, costumed characters, Discovery Ride, face painting, pumpkin decorating, caramel apples and apple pit. Info: Details: (800) 546-5433 or

-- Howling Homestead at Homestead National Monument of America, Beatrice. Date: 6 p.m. Oct. 24. Free hike through the park. Pumpkins given to the first 100 visitors. Info: (402) 223-3514 or

-- Boo at the Zoo, Lincoln Children's Zoo, 1222 S. 27 St. Dates: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 26-30. More than 30 Boo stations for children to collect treats. Free shuttle service from area parking lots. Cost: $5 per person (zoo members free); $3 for required treat bag. Advance ticket sales under way through Oct. 16. Early-bird passes letting visitors in at 5:20 p.m. cost an additional $3 and are available at the zoo office. Train tickets $2. Info: 475-6741 or

-- Halloween Hurrah, Lincoln Children's Museum, 1420 P St. Dates: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 29-30. Not-so-spooky trick or treat through the museum. Cost: Museum admission plus $3 for each required treat bag.

-- "Noises of the Night" Pioneers Park Spooktacular. Dates: 6:45 to 9 p.m. Oct. 29-30. Trail times assigned every 15 minutes. Meet costumed critters along the Spooktacular Trail, live critters, campfire, sing-along with Mike Mennard, popcorn and apple cider. Cost: $6 per person; free for children 3 and under. Reserve a time: 441-7895.

Reach Erin Andersen at 473-7217 or


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