By: Kaitlyn Kazara
CLARENCE, N.Y.- Frigid air nipped at the heels of my flanneled boots as the chilled fingers of fall crept their way up my layered sleeves and down my entire body. The shiver that ran down my spine left me confused about its origin. From the cold or the excitement at the new experience that lay ahead, I wasn’t sure; maybe it was a bit of both. All I knew was that this was going to be a day to remember.
The aged wood of the red barn, whose arms were opened in a welcome embrace, had my body humming in excitement. He gave me a welcoming smile as I approached him, his teeth spelling out The Great Pumpkin Farm.
I felt like a kid again, a forgotten treasure I didn’t realize I missed so much, and I all but screamed when I saw the petting zoo to my left. I roamed among the crowd, my own laughter filling my ears as I passed a child mocking a silkie chicken. “Hey you … you know you’re fat right,” the little boy asked and I watched in amusement as the Cousin Itt of chickens bobbled away.
Noon hit and with immense fascination I examined the telescopic handler cradling an enormous pumpkin in its arms. It had to be well over a thousand pounds and with dozens of people surrounding it, I knew something was about to go down. Turns out it was the pumpkin. I watched as the weight became too much for the mechanical beast and the pronged arms slowly began to fall. “Three … two … ONE,” the crowd cheered, I along with it, and with an exasperated groan the arms gave way, sending the pumpkin into an unstoppable free fall of 1,000 feet. It was like a seasonal firework, pumpkin chunks launched themselves into the crowd and Jumbo Pillow’s, initiating a race to retrieve the biggest souvenir.
“It all happened one crazy fall night! A mysterious, blinding flash lit the night sky and Boots the dog went to investigate but never returned. Find out which monster took him and where he is being hidden,” the old man begged as we approached the five acre corn maze. We entered at our own risk and quickly became lost in the Batman stencil. Two lefts and a right, through a shortcut and back, I began to lose hope that we’d ever find a clue, until we did. A little wooden sign came into view and I Spy became the game as I tried to find the monster and its hiding place.
Just as I hole-punched the suspect off my list, a boom echoed within the corn walls. I looked up to see a small orange meteorite hurtling past the corn maze and into an unknown location. Confused I looked towards my friends and they said “It came from the Pumpkin Slingshot.” We continued our journey and managed to find all six clues, revealing the monster who took Boo and where they had hid him.
From finding one monster to another, Frankenstein loomed 10 feet over me, his massive hand gripping the tombstone inscribed, The Boo Barn. I entered and all around me were status of ghouls and goblins, witches and monsters, the strobe lights seemed to bring them to life. Much to my dismay, there was no real element of horror, though the “scaredy cat exit” door did make me laugh and it wasn’t until I arrived to the vortex, the sign warning me not to go near, that the real fun began. It felt as though the floor was falling out from underneath and if it wasn’t for the guardrails I most definitely would have. I was swaying from left to right and by the time I escaped, my body was humming.
The day had come to an end and it was time to hit the rewind button. Before I knew it, I was back with my hand wrapped around the passenger door handle, closing myself within the car once more. As the reds, oranges and yellows blurred in the rearview mirror, I couldn’t help but reminisce and be grateful that I had gone to the Great Pumpkin Farm and how I couldn’t wait to go again, a newly found fall tradition.