This past weekend, we took our daughter to a pumpkin patch for the first time. She toddled her way along the paths around the pumpkins, bok boked at the turkeys and got to enjoy her first hayride.
My husband and I hadn’t been to a pumpkin patch since we were kids so we ended the visit with what we assumed everyone does at the pumpkin patch: We bought a large pumpkin. The cost: $18. We were a bit taken aback at the price, but we had no frame of reference for what a pumpkin should cost.
Then, we drove to our local Safeway grocery store and saw bins full of similar pumpkins for $6.99 each. “Is this a good deal?” a woman picking through a bin asked us when she heard us remarking on the difference in pumpkin price tags.
Like our fellow shopper, my husband and me, I bet that many people don’t have a frame of reference for what a pumpkin should cost. That’s why today’s hint is to consider buying your pumpkin at a local grocery store or super store, especially if you’re watching your spending like we are.
And I’m not the only one who has noticed how expensive pumpkin patches can be. “When did pumpkins get so expensive?!” blogger Delighted Mamma asked her readers last year, and blogger Easy Travel Mom also found patch pumpkins to be more expensive than grocery stores.
I’m also not the first to recommend going the store vs. patch route. “Skip the pumpkin patch,” recommends a writer at Hot Coupon World, who notes that the patch pumpkin “cost per pound is often twice the cost per pound of what you can find in your local grocery stores” thanks to all the patch extras (like hayrides and hot apple cider). Similarly, blogger Cinchy Shopper says to “avoid the pumpkin patch” if you want to save money on a pumpkin.
To be sure, you’re going to find more selection at a pumpkin patch, going to a patch is a nice experience for kids and adults like, and it’s always nice to support local businesses. In addition, every area is different so pumpkin patches may be the cheaper alternative in some regions of the country.
Meanwhile, if you really want to be frugal, there are other strategies that may be cheaper than buying a pumpkin every year. For instance, here are a couple ideas from various bloggers (including those cited above): opt for a fake pumpkin that you could use year after year and opt for a pumpkin alternative (like these clever jack-o’-lanterns blogger From Downriver to Downright Country crafted from baby food jars).
Finally, the patch by us had free admission so we could have had the same experience regardless of how much we spent on a pumpkin. And we could have supported the business in other ways. We did go on a $3-a-person hayride, or we could have bought a tiny, less expensive pumpkin at the patch (the smallest ones were 75 cents each, only slightly above Safeway’s 69-cent versions), and made our bigger pumpkin purchase at Safeway.
What are your tips for saving on pumpkins and Halloween decorations in general?