Last weekend, Ottawa Valley Moms descended upon Saunders Farm to take in their Haunting Season. We made it an open event that anyone could sign up for and we invited families from Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley area to join us. We ended up with over eighty people registered for the event but the poor weather and frosty temperatures seemed to keep many people from joining us. Either way, we definitely had a LOT of fun while there!
We arrived at the farm for 10AM and there were already tons of people there. Our event was kicking off at 10:30AM so we wanted enough time to get all settled in to the log barn (which is SO cozy but more on that soon!) and get our treats set up for the wee ones. Lucky for us, the Saunders Farm staff was busy getting a fire ready in the log barn so the entire room felt really homey and like we were away on vacation. In the log barn there are also wee little rocking chairs, which are SO adorable and perfect for the young ones.
As we waited for everyone to arrive, we took this opportunity to snap some photos of the OVMs and the OVDs (Ottawa Valley Dads!). I’m still in complete disbelief that all of the kiddos stayed still long enough to grab these pics. AMAZING!
As our guests arrived, we handed out little treat bags that OVM co-founder Melissa made (she is a Stampin’ Up demonstrator and did a blog post about the treat bags here) that had a few little goodies inside. Check out the adorable basket that Melissa put together!
To keep things super festive, we dressed all of our kids in Halloween costumes! We had a dinosaur, a witch, a unicorn and a few other fun creatures floating around! I’m not going to lie, as you see in the photos above, the adults dressed up too! It was so much fun and really started to get me excited about the haunts that lay ahead. Here’s OVM co-founder Crystal’s daughter Ava!
After we had enough of the log barn and greeted our guests, we made our way outside. Immediately outside of the log barn are a series of play structures that provide lots of fun for the wee ones. There are also cute, painted boards that contain information about pumpkins and other fall-related items. Although it doesn’t look like it in the picture below (of my daughter Willow), it is REALLY fun! LOL
The kids played on the play structures for awhile and enjoyed the sand box that was there too. I really love going to Saunders Farm during the Haunting Season as they really do it up with the decorations. There are pumpkins and staff members in costume and all sorts of decorations that really get you in the Halloween spirit. Here are two of the OVM kiddos on a train in the play structure area.
Once we got enough of the play structures, we headed over to the pumpkin patch hayride. All of the OVMers hopped aboard the wagon and we went on a ride through Saunders Farm’s pumpkin patch. When we were there the year before, they actually stopped so you could get out and pick a pumpkin out but we didn’t do that this year. The kids really enjoyed it and I was able to snap this adorable photo of one of the OVM co-founder’s family!
After the hayride, we headed over to the main area at Saunders. Here you’ll find a puppet theatre, the jumping pillows, mazes, more play structures and, in better weather, the splash pad. We LOVED the jumping pillows and I’m fairly certain that the adults enjoyed it more than the kids did. Here’s myself (Erin) and my daughter Willow on the pillows!
After the pillows, we decided to get some lunch so we headed back to the Log Barn to eat our picnic lunches. Right outside of the barn, and right after the main entrance, was a band playing songs. All of the kids loved it and were really enthralled by their performance. They would just stand there staring at them. I loved it because it was heavy on the fiddle, which always makes me think of fall.
After lunch, a few of the OVMs decided to do the Barn of Terror. Now, I’m a huge ol’ scaredy cat so I was SUPER NERVOUS going into this and… I had reason to be! You don’t think that something that looks like the photo below could be so scary inside but it is! I was really impressed. It’s like something you’d see at Universal Studios so to see it in our backyard at Saunders is amazing. Basically the Barn of Terror is a series of rooms, hallways and dark spaces that you have to move through and throughout the entire space, you’re scared out of your mind. The sounds, the characters jumping out at you, the spooky imagery… it was enough to make all of us scream at the top of our lungs. SO WELL DONE!
See, even the OVDs did it and THEY were scared too!
There was also face painting available so Ava got her face painted with a cute little pumpkin!
We headed home shortly after but not without first stopping at the pumpkins to snap a few pics! If you want to take some cute fall-inspired photos of your kids, this is definitely the place to be.
We had to leave for a Thanksgiving dinner not long after but I spoke to OVM Crystal afterward and she told me all about the new feature at Saunders Farm this year – the Coffin Simulator Ride! You have to buy tickets for this feature but she said it was well worth it. Essentially, you get shut inside of a coffin and embark on a simulation that is out of this world. She told me that it was slightly creepy being shut into a coffin, it even smelled of perfume and cedar (or maybe that was her imagination!?). The ride was very realistic, ESPECIALLY the feeling of the creepy crawlers all over her feet! I am sure that the crowd watching thought it was hilarious when she was screaming at that part, as they could watch Crystal’s expressions from the in-coffin video camera!
The last thing she mentioned to me was that she thought it was a nice feature having speakers on the Haunted Hayride as it definitely helps to make it more interactive!
If you haven’t checked out their Haunting Season before, do! It’s a really, really fun way to get into the spirit of Halloween.