The kids are back in school, and the leaves are beginning to turn to brilliant reds, oranges and yellows.  That means Fall and all of its trappings are here as well.  From pumpkin-picking to corn mazes, apple cider and bonfires: we’ve got the area’s best events and activities for the whole family.  So grab your favorite hoodie and head to one (or more!) of our top picks of things to do to get into the spirit of the autumn season.

Linvilla Orchards (137 West Knowlton Road, Media) www.Linvilla.com

Loads of events at Linvilla with their annual Pumpkinland, plus Autumn Moon Hayrides (bonfire, marshmallow roasting and more), Hayrides to the Witches House (who tells stories and jokes to the kids as well as dispensing treats).  Also popular at Linvilla: pony rides, face-painting and pick-your-own apples.

Phoenixville Farmers Market (Saturdays 9am-1pm under the Gay Street Memorial Bridge) www.PhoenixvilleFarmersMarket.org

The market will feature many autumn-inspired events, in addition to their seasonal fruits and vegetables plus local pasture raised turkeys for Thanksgiving and the ever-popular apple cider.  Upcoming special events: October 9 – Fibers Festival featuring local wool producers and hand spinners, and October 30th – Halloween activities plus make your own Market Scarecrow.

Colonial Garden Center (745 Schuylkill Road, Phoenixville; 1-800-39-GHOUL)

Colonial Gardens hosts a number of excellent family-friendly autumn and Halloween-inspired activities through throughout the month of October.  You’ll find a huge range of activities (geared to varying age-groups from small children to adults).  Local favorites include the Pumpkinland, Cornstalk Maze, Halloween Funhouse, Casper’s Castle, Haunted Woods Night Hayrides, Special Children’s Night Hayrides, Haunted House of Horrors and more.  This attraction is easily our area’s best kept secret of the season.

Milky Way Farm (along Route 113 in Lionville) http://milkywayfarm.com

Milky Way Farm, a family-owned dairy farm, hosts free hayrides to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch Saturdays and Sundays in October from 10am-5pm.  Visitors can enjoy the property’s young farm animals, educational dairy farming exhibits and other autumn-inspired fun.  Also on the grounds: Chester Springs Creamery, selling ice cream made from the Milky Way Farm cows’ milk.  With 35+ homemade recipe flavors to choose from, try a seasonal favorite like Abby’s Apple Cinnamon or Polly’s Pumpkin Pie.

Farmer’s Daughter (3190 Schuylkill Road, Spring City) www.farmersdaughterfarmmarket.com

Fall events at Farmer’s Daughter include hayrides, corn mazes, pick-your-own pumpkin patch (“all you can carry” they say), plus weekend nighttime tractor-pulled hayrides, flashlight maze (bring your own flashlight) and bonfire, with extended market store hours.  Their Fall Fest is happening Saturday October 9th and Sunday October 10th complete with pony rides, scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, sand art, moon bounce, straw jump and more.

Elmwood Park Zoo (1661 Harding Blvd, Morristown) http://www.elmwoodparkzoo.org/

Loads of fall and Halloween events at Elmwood including Nightmare at Elmwood (October 22, 23, 24, & 30 6pm-9pm), Little Boo at the Zoo, Costume Parade, and a Haunted Carnival with games like Spider Toss, Pumpkin Bowling, Fortune Telling and much more.

Highland Orchards (1000 Marshallton-Thorndale Rd, West Chester) www.highlandorchards.net

Highland Orchards hosts pumpkin picking to their patch plus their Fall Festival fun happening every weekend in October (with apple picking, hayrides, kid korral, cow milker and scarecrow building).  There are also farm animal pet exhibits with goats, llamas and donkeys.  Also at the orchard: the farm’s own locally-grown fresh produce and other Chester County-fresh market items.  Shuttle rides available on weekends to the orchard’s apple, raspberry and pumpkin fields.

Anselma Farmers’ and Artisans Market (Historic Mill at Anselma, Chester Springs) www.anselmamill.org

Anselma hosts a Farmers and Artisans Market Wednesdays from 1pm-6pm.  Many upcoming fall events will be at the market including October 6 “Three Sisters Festival”: a celebration of Native American food staples.  October 13th “Apple Festival”:  learn to make your own applesauce.  October 20th “Pumpkin Festival”: pumpkin painting and pumpkin jumping plus a special interactive story “The Magic Pumpkin” appropriate for all ages.  Be sure to stop by before the last Farmer’s Market day of the season held on October 27.

Yeager’s Farm Market (1015 Pike Springs Road, Phoenixville) www.yeagersfarmmarket.net

Yeager’s Farm Market holds hayrides to the pumpkin patch every weekend in October from 10am to 5pm.  Pick your own pumpkin and pay by the pound.  You’ll also find a hay bale maze for the kids, with private hayrides and parties available upon request.  Also plentiful: cider, gourds, corn stalks, straw bales and indian corn.

Varner Farms (746 South Trappe Road, Collegeville) ww.varnerfarms.net

Fall Harvest has begun at Varner Farms.  Visit the farm store for fresh pressed apple cider, jams, butters, honey, mums, gourds and all your favorite autumn items.  At the farm: apple-picking, large corn maze,  and loads of free activities including visiting the farm animals (sheep, goats, chickens, pigs and mini horses) plus mazes, cattle roping, pedal tractors and kiddy wagon trains.  The farm’s Pumpkin Harvest includes horse-drawn and tractor wagon rides to the pumpkin patch through October.

Merrymeade Farm (2222 Valley Forge Roade, Worcester) http://www.merrymead.com

27th Annual Harvest Days are happening now through the end of October.  Lots of fun for the whole family.  At the farm, you’ll find a 5-acre cornfield maze (open weekends) with special moonlight mazes  (Fridays and Saturdays 6pm-9pm).  Be sure to bring your own flashlight!  Also at Merrymeade: hayrides, face painting, farm animals, corn stalk tunnel, cider donuts, hand-dopped ice cream, wagon train ride for kids, pumpkin painting and of course local apples.

Phoenixville Borough Halloween Parade (Parade lineup begins at 6:30pm at Borough Hall, 140 Church Street Phoenixville) www.phoenixville.org

Head to downtown Phoenixville on Tuesday, October 19 at 7pm to watch the borough’s family-friendly Halloween Parade.  Want to walk in the parade?  It’s free to enter, but be sure to register on the borough’s website.  Rain date scheduled for Tuesday, October 26th.  Take the whole family and be entertained by marching bands, floats, emergency vehicles, flying candy and Halloween-costumed children of all ages.

Family Fun Foliage Walk (at Black Rock Sanctuary, Phoenixville) www.activatephoenixvillearea.org

Join Activate Phoenixville Area for a Fall Foliage Family Fun Walk at Black Rock Sanctuary on Saturday, November 6 at 9am (registration at 8:30am).  Everyone is welcome, rain or shine! Walk the beautiful ¾ mile trail and enjoy the gorgeous changing leaves.  Also happening at the event: decorate a free pumpkin, face-painting and delicious, fresh snacks.