a peek inside the fishbowl

29 Oct, 2016

Enjoying HALLOWEEK at Saunders Farm

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Fishbowl patrons

Last week I brought our youngest daughter and a few friends to experience Fright Fest at Saunders Farm.*

I decided to tag along and get the lay of the land so to speak. Although we’ve been visiting Saunders for many years it was only during daylight hours, so this was to be my first glimpse of evening activities. As I wandered around I realized I should compile a blog post for other parents of teens who may find themselves in a similar situation. (In other words, chauffeurs who are hanging out at Saunders while their kids scare themselves silly. There’s no need to read a book in the parking lot!)

Of course it goes without saying, that as soon as we arrived the girls and I parted ways. I was cool with this, of course. We agreed we’d meet back at admissions and they immediately went one direction, and I went the other. And so, knowing I had a couple of hours to kill (ha, no pun intended) I poked around to see what’s what.

I want to state outright that I was not planning on checking out any of the Fright Night attractions because I am a chicken. (There, I said it.)

First, an observation from a total scaredy cat. Isn’t it interesting how the sweet, innocent displays at Saunders become creepy at night:

Fun daytime things look spooky at night at Saunders

Everything that is so charming and familiar during daylight hours suddenly takes on an entirely dark persona at night, doesn’t it?

The Carnivale was my first stop. It’s definitely a spooky addition to the list of things to explore at Saunders and it’s new this year. Try to imagine the haunting circus-type melody in the background as you walk through the darkness:

Time for the Carnivale, at Saunders Farm

Ferris wheel at Saunders Farm

Also, and try not to be too freaked out about this, but there are clowns there now:

Clowns at Saunders Farm *shiver*

I kept to the periphery of the scary attractions for awhile before I decided to check out the food situation.

Parents, take note!

  • There are a few food and beverages on site, as well as a place to chill, with or without kids. Head over to The Table to pick up a hamburger, fries, or poutine. You can eat outdoors at a picnic table or take a few extra steps to the Tombstone Tavern, where you can buy a beer as well.
  • There is also a Beavertail stand at Saunders and it’s open at night! A good opportunity to indulge if you like sweet fried pastry. (AND WHO DOESN’T?!)

As I mentioned, I didn’t check out the attractions. Honestly, my heart can’t take it. I did poke around the haunted cemetery a couple of times. It was pretty good, complete with zombie brides and other ghouls. Everyone around me seemed to be enjoying the scare as much as I was, and for me, that’s actually part of the fun… watching other people clutching one another and laughing hysterically makes ME laugh.

Sidebar: at one point I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head and saw someone dressed in one of those black, form-fitting/face-covering bodysuits. OMG. I nearly had a heart attack. It was as if a shadow had come to life. It was oddly disturbing but I was also thankful that the clown I’d seen earlier wasn’t stalking me.

Now I’m not normally a gift shop kind of person, but since I was wandering I decided to check it out. I’m glad I did, because I was QUITE happy to find three of my favourite treats here: hot apple cider, kettle corn, and fudge. Of course, I bought all three…

Kettle corn! At Saunders Farm

Don't leave without picking up some fudge at Saunders Farm!

… and then I retired to the Log Cabin. This is right across the path from the haunted barn, near the front entrance. I had the whole place to myself. I have to say, it was absolutely perfect for someone like me:

Enjoying some time by the fire at Saunders

I was able to sit down in a quiet place and decompress for a few moments. As a bonus, I was able to hear all the screams of laughter as people exited the Haunted Barn.

I enjoyed my hot apple cider and nibbled at the fudge which was, after all, intended to be shared later. I don’t want to go on about it TOO much because my mother-in-law is reading this and might be slightly offended, but honestly, it was the best fudge I’ve had in my entire life. And you know I don’t say these things too lightly. (Sorry Mary, but there it is.)

Soon it was time to gather the troops and go home. According to their report, their visit can only be described as Absolute Scary Hilarity. Also, I found out that the haunted hayride is the least scariest and someone accidentally grabbed a perfect stranger in the haunted barn.

Tonight is Mark’s turn to take our eldest and HER friends. I’m excited for her. I remember how much fun it was to be a teenager and have the opportunity to hang out with my friends in this way. I feel so fortunate that our daughters have a chance to do the same.

*Saunders Farm is a Fishbowl patron and they kindly gave us tickets for the visit I described above. I bought my own snacks. The eldest is going with her friends tonight and we’re paying our own way.


5 Responses to "Enjoying HALLOWEEK at Saunders Farm"

1 | Julie D

October 29th, 2016 at 2:35 pm

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If avoiding the attractions makes me a chicken well Cluck, Cluck, Cluck ’cause I’m with you by the fireplace, sister! I would be scared out of my wits! (And I’m glad to hear the hayride isn’t scary — I’d like to try that with my 7 and 9 year old.)

2 | Rebecca

November 1st, 2016 at 4:57 pm

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We didn’t make it this year but when we last went I loved it – the kids were spooked even during the day. And I would be at night – but I want to be by that fire!

3 | Mary

November 1st, 2016 at 11:13 pm

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Does this mean I have to find a new recipe for fudge? ?

4 | Fiona Tapp

November 9th, 2016 at 6:21 pm

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Must check this out next year, I have never been to Saunders farm after dark- looks spooky!

5 | andrea tomkins

November 10th, 2016 at 11:20 am

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It’s definitely worth a visit. Very fun with friends too!

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Have a great summer at Saunders Farm!


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  • SJM: My father sent epic care packages when I was at Uni - one per term. It included a 6 pack of beer and lots of food. This was when postage was much chea
  • andrea tomkins: I KNOW. It's crazy that we are now the parents of an adult. I can hardly believe it myself most days! :)
  • Allison: What!!??!! How is your daughter in university?!! That just cannot be!!! So glad to hear she is adjusting well and having fun and enjoying her classes
  • andrea tomkins: Great ideas Joy! Especially the POST-its! They're actually an expensive purchase for a student, so they'd make a nice addition to a care package.
  • joy: cute and fun - I would love to receive things like this! How about notebooks, magazines, post-it notes, seasonal treats, lip balms, gift cards for fav
  • andrea tomkins: Ooh! Good one Alison! A good (long!) phone charge cord could be welcome as well.
  • Alison in Ottawa: Another pair of ear phones. My daughter can never keep track of them.

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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