I carve prayers in the pumpkins when they’re small,” says Sharon Trabbic,“and as they grow, the prayers grow as well.”

Deacon Ken Trabbic and his wife Sharon are the owners/operators of the Trabbic Pumpkin Farm, where they produce over 20 acres of pumpkins as well as wheat, field corn, sweet corn, soybeans and hay. The farm has been in the Trabbic family for over 100 years; and the Trabbics write on their website about how they decided to establish the pumpkin patch:

After praying and asking God what we should do on the farm as we raise our children, the thought of pumpkins came to rest on our hearts. This year we will be celebrating an Anniversary—our 25th year with the pumpkin patch. It has been an enjoyable experience of sharing in the lives of all those who visit the farm.

When my husband was preparing for ordination to the diaconate, a number of years ago, Deacon Ken and Sharon spoke to our diaconate formation group about their unique ministry. I remember a particularly poignant story which Sharon told, about a woman who found a pumpkin out in the field carved with the message “Pray to End Abortion.” The woman approached Sharon angrily and said, “My daughter is pregnant, and I certainly don’t want her life to be ruined by a baby!” Sharon stopped her work and talked with the woman: praying with her, offering alternatives to abortion, explaining the Church’s loving message about the sacredness of life. Sharon had no idea of the outcome; but the following year, the woman again visited the pumpkin patch—this time bringing her daughter and her new grandchild—and personally thanked Sharon for her kindness and for helping her to decide in favor of Life.

Besides impromptu abortion counseling, Trabbic Pumpkin Farm offers all the standard kid-friendly activities you’d expect to find on an autumn excursion: hayrides, pony rides, a straw bale maze and a corn maze, and a three-car pumpkin train with rotating pumpkin-shaped cars. There’s also a petting zoo with squealing pigs, bunnies with wiggly noses, and plenty of farm animals to delight the city kids. And of course, fields of ripe pumpkins.

There’s a store where visitors can purchase pumpkin pies and apple butter, popcorn and specialty jams. Sometimes there’s live entertainment from a local bluegrass group.

But what most sets Trabbic Farm apart from other Halloween destinations is the chapel, with its religious imagery and its rustic hay bale seating. That, and a Rosary Tree from which visitors may choose a dangling rosary to take home.

Trabbic Pumpkin Farm is located at 1560 Sterns Road in Erie, Michigan, just north of the Michigan-Ohio border. Hours are 10:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. daily through October 31. On Sunday, October 2, at 5:00 p.m., the public is invited to a special Harvest Mass at the farm.   For more information, visit the Trabbic Farm website.