We drove to Wilson Farm in Lexington yesterday to get our Halloween pumpkin. My husband usually carves it but my contribution this year is battery-powered, color-changing eyeballs. I can't wait.
Wilson Farm is always a happy place, but they tend to go bananas for Halloween and Christmas. They have haunted hayrides for kids with all kinds of scary tableaux out in the fields. Two years ago, they covered a huge outer wall of their store with a dense wooden grid, and each square held a pumpkin. They didn't do that this year, and they were low on exotic pumpkins of the green, gray, and Cinderella varieties, for example. I was told they'd sold out a while ago. We consoled ourselves with some perfect, hot, sugar-covered cider donuts at two for a buck. They were sticky as well as comforting. And then I found a strange little green and yellow striped pumpkin, which is what I'd had in mind all along.
I tried to talk my husband into a squat, peachy-beige Cinderella pumpkin with broad, rounded lobes. He said, "Gourdian Not!" He thinks he is so clever. It's a good thing he lives with me.
The hard part was finding a middle-sized, nicely shaped pumpkin for my husband to carve. (Mine will sit around as autumn/winter decor. Pumpkins can last for months.) Wilson's had loads of big pumpkins and plenty of little sugar pumpkins, but nothing in the modest size we like for carving. We would up with the smallest big pumpkin we could find, with a curvy stem.
Big, fat pumpkins everywhere we looked.
If you've been following this blog for at least a year, you know that I judge pumpkins primarily by their stems. The vast majority of a pumpkin's personality is in the part that most harvesters chop off practically at the base. I search for long, curly, dramatic stems but they're rare. I found one once, and at the register, the salesclerk lifted the pumpkin off the scale by the stem before I could stop him, and of course it broke right off. I can't win. But I was pleased to see some progress: interesting stems on the tiny pumpkins I got from Savenor's and Deluca's this year. Someday, farmers will figure it out and pumpkin aesthetics will be much more interesting.
There was hot cider to go with the cider donuts, and freshly made caramel apples, which could be rolled in sprinkles or nuts if the caramel didn't seem decadent enough:
Along with pumpkins and food, Wilson Farm has been going heavy on Halloween decor in recent years. I photographed a selection of creepy characters for your delectation — as Rod Serling might have said, once upon a time, introducing an episode of Night Gallery. It was one of my favorite shows when I was too young for that sort of thing. I guess I liked being terrified.
Most of the creeps in the farm shop were life-size and surprisingly off-putting. If they'd had stuff like this when I was a kid I probably would have been a wreck:
Ugh! Kids these days....
These two remind me of the couple in Beetlejuice (Alec Baldwin and Gina Davis).
I'm pretty sure I used to work with these people.
I know I used to work with these two.
She would have deeply upset me when I was a kid.
My inner child is freaking out even now.
On a less gruesome note, here's some Indian corn. I know that's politically incorrect and I don't care: