Pumpkins ... those huge, round, orange squash that come into season here at this time of year. They're everywhere at the moment … great mountains of them.
There's pumpkin pie, of course, but also pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin spice coffee and chai. Then there's pumpkin cheesecake, Pumkin Ale, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup and even pumpkin spice room spray and scented candles.
Enough already! Why is this oversized orange fruit a symbol of Hallowe'en anyway. They didn't even have pumpkins in Europe when All Hallows Eve was first celebrated. They hollowed out turnips or mangelwurzels (big beets) to use as lanterns and carved goblin faces on them to ward off evil spirits. Though I have to admit, I'd prefer pumpkin ale to turnip ale or mangelwerzel pie.
The Great Pumpkin and good old Charlie Brown was fun for the kids in the day. The farcical Simpsons' Grand Pumpkin has taken over now in the spirit of modern times. The world record for actual great pumpkins, however, is held by Ron Wallace of Rhode Island at the moment. His Atlantic Giant weighed in at just over a ton (911.3kg). Now that's a Great Pumpkin.
Pumpkins are one of the most popular crops in the US. According to Wiki, we grow 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin every year with the Midwest leading the top producing states. Usually, we tend to be lazy and get a can of pumpkin for our holiday pies. All those pumpkins around and we buy canned. Go figure. We served pumpkin pie to our Aussie friends on the boat last Thanksgiving. They weren't impressed. It's an acquired taste, I guess.
I do like Hallowe'en and I do enjoy carving jack-o-lanterns, it's just that the pumpkin stuff seems to have gotten out of hand. That said, pumpkins are symbols of the harvest and they're certainly preferred to Christmas decorations. Oops...spoke too soon. Look at all those plastic Santas!