Halloween Tradition: Pumpkin Races

Photo of my 5-year-old daughter holding up an orange pumpkin in front of her face. Her smile is visible.

Behold Golden Boy! No, not my daughter.

Every October we bring home a range of pumpkins from our local pumpkin patches. Some are for carving into jack-o-lanterns. A few tiny ones are for decoration. And a few medium-size pumpkins are for racing.

Yes, racing. It’s a competition of sorts. We don’t maintain records because no one ever comes close to winning. Except… this year.

The idea behind the competition is to outwit, outlast and outplay the competitors. Or really, to just outlast them.

It’s a race to see who can make it to next Halloween. We stick several pumpkins on our baker’s rack and wait for them to rot.

The weakest, most feeble pumpkins are dead by December. Their fontanelle gets soft, and bang, there’s total system failure within a week. We whisk the squash carcasses to the backyard quickly so as to not discourage the other racers.

The hardiest competitors last until June. Oh, but no more. We are rapidly approaching October 1st and still have one competitor in the race.

We call him Golden Boy.

We know he’s a boy because, well, erm, look at the photo. There aren’t many female pumpkins in a pumpkin patch.

Golden Boy gave us a scare last week when fruit flies began hanging out in our home. Luckily, a few bananas had been forgotten in a grocery bag on the kitchen counter that had a few papers thrown in on top. Whew. I wrapped Golden Boy in a plastic bag for a few days to guarantee his safety.

There is some debate as to which of us was the one who picked Golden Boy last year… who could stake a claim to successfully choosing the strongest pumpkin in the patch.

Let’s just say I am a caring father who wants his daughter to be happy, so I consented to letting her think she’s an expert pumpkin picker. You and I know the truth.

And now, for the first time, here at Thingamababy we are dual-blogging. My daughter requested to write a blog entry to go with her photo. We actually sat down at the same time to start blogging — me at my keyboard, she at her craft table with pencil and paper. Here is her blog entry:

the Pumpcin Pach

A ckid pickt a pumpcin that is staeing ripe for 2 and a haf yeersz. Wy R going to bring it to the pumpcin pach thiss yeer. Wy R shoinge it to the pumpcin pachers. its maem is Glldin Boy. Its God wy pict it. Wy love [heart symbol] Him. Wy taeck ker uv him! Wy R Lucky!

Translation: She thinks the pumpkin is 2-and-a-half-years-old and she wants to bring Golden Boy to the pumpkin patch to show everyone (“pumpkin patchers”). She says we take good care of Golden Boy, love him very much and are lucky to have him in our life.

The moral of this story: forget cats, dogs, birds and hamsters. Pumpkins are inexpensive pets.


2 Responses to “Halloween Tradition: Pumpkin Races”

  1. anastasiav says:

    When I was just out of college, I lived in a tiny apartment, and picked up a giant, virtually antique microwave at Goodwill. (It has a dial instead of buttons, if that gives you a hint to its age.) That October, my grandparents gave me a pumpkin from their farm, which I arranged decoratively on top of the microwave. Where it stayed, sound and ripe, for nearly two and a half years.

    When it came time to move, I gingerly took this ancient pumpkin and set it next to the trash. Within 24 hours it had fallen apart like Dorian Grey … a shriveled, brown husk of its former lovely self.

    With some horror, we took the microwave to the dump the next day, wondering what mysterious rays it had been emitting to preserve the pumpkin for such an unnaturally long time….

    September 23rd, 2009 at 9:40 am

  2. Heidi says:

    Oh, anastasiav, I just laughed my butt off. Reminds me of being a kid and having my great-grandmother tell me not to stand in front of the microwave because the radiation would stunt my growth. I’m only 5’4 now, I wonder if its coincidence, or the radiation!

    Although, maybe the pumpkin died when you put him by the trash because he felt like you gave up on him! Just kidding…I’m glad you got rid of that microwave!

    October 3rd, 2009 at 2:18 pm

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