Posted by: Kath Usitalo | October 25, 2011

Munchkins And Pumpkins And History, Oh My!

Vultures and ravens find a temporary roost at the old stage coach stop in Greenfield Village

I went to see the Wizard, but ended up admiring an 840 pound pumpkin.

Den tries to hang on in the tornado house

My brother Dennis is in town from Portland, Oregon, and I asked him if he wanted to meet me at Henry Ford Museum to check out the Wizard of Oz Children’s Educational Exhibition, “based on the beloved movie classic.”

He hadn’t been to the indoor/outdoor museum complex in Dearborn in years, so he was game.

It took us about 10 seconds to realize that, beyond the dazzling (replica) pair of ruby slippers, some movie posters and one display with scenes from the 1939 film, this traveling exhibit is designed for those with munchkins in tow. There are lots of kiddie-friendly hands-on activities with colorful buttons to push and structures for pint-sized people to climb on and through.

We spent more time looking at the goodies in the requisite exhibit shop. Great source for Halloween masks, especially if you want to be a Flying Monkey.

I found these scarecrow dolls oddly appealing

The Wizard of Oz exhibit is included in museum admission and runs through January 9. Families will enjoy the Munchkin Luncheons with Wizard of Oz characters every Saturday in November; reservations are required and the price includes museum admission.

After a quick look around the museum we headed to Greenfield Village and enjoyed a nice autumn stroll past seasonal displays including several “Great Pumpkins” grown by a 15-year old Gregory Dayfield of Brownstown. One monster weighs 840 pounds and a 657-pounder received an award for the Prettiest Pumpkin at the Pumpkinfest in New Bremen, Ohio. Click on Giant Pumpkin Growers for more about this biz. I never knew there was such a group; see what you learn when you go to a museum?

One of the monster pumpkins in the Village

We also saw evidence of the Hallowe’en weekends, the slightly scary evenings with a turn-of-last century twist.

A ghost at the home of the Wright Brothers

For the event the paths through the Village are lit with hundreds of jack-o-lanterns and costumed characters put on skits and pass out treats.

We went with the kids years ago and I still remember the eerie sight of the Headless Horseman riding through the Village. It’s a lot of fun and if you hurry you can nab tickets for late evening slots on Friday and Saturday; Sunday is sold out.

Greenfield Village in fall: it’s a Boo-tiful thing.



  1. Check out the October issue of Smithsonian Magazine. There’s an article about giant pumpkins & the techniques people use to grow them. Biggest is around 1600 pounds & they expect to hit one ton in the coming years.

    • Amazing. Will look for it.

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