October is the time of year when ordinary, rational people lose all perspective and go nuts over pumpkins. Naturally, we at Southern Living enjoying fanning the flames of gourdomania, so you see pumpkins on the cover of every October issue. We also print pages on actual pumpkin paper that turn your skin permanently orange.
The scene above at the Dallas Arboretum shows how absolutely frightening this psychosis can become. Every year, a staff of deeply disturbed individuals gather approximately 75,000 pumpkins, gourds, and squash to create pumpkin houses and mosaics that leave onlookers slack-jawed. The display is open now through November 25. Here’s how these tortured people put it all together after their first round of meds.
Of course, arranging thousands of pumpkins like drones is only one manifestation of this illness. Every year, deranged pumpkin growers from around the world compete to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin.
In 2014, John Hawkey of Napa, California established a new American record with a 2,058 pound behemoth at the 41st Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off at Half Moon Bay, California and earned a prize of $30,000. However, this titan fell short of the current world record of 2,332-pounds held by a Swiss grower. The Half Moon Bay event always takes place on Columbus Day, October 12, so if you have a gourd the size of a Honda Civic, drive it over there.
Growing Giant Punkins
How do you grow such a mammoth pumpkin? Well, first you have to start with the right kind of seed, which is Howard Dill’s Atlantic Giant, a type Mr. Dill, who lives in Nova Scotia, has been perfecting for decades. You let only one pumpkin grow per plant. You need fertile, well-drained soil and a climate that’s not too dry and not too wet and where the days are long in the summer. World record winners don’t come from the South, because it rains so hard here pumpkins literally explode in the field by absorbing water too fast. But we can still grow some 800 and 1,000-pounders.
Of course, some people don’t want to grow pumpkins as big as their mother-in-law. They just want bright, seasonal color for the front porch. Nothing fills the bill better than a pumpkin. It’s cheap, comes in a variety of colors, and lasts for months if you don’t carve it or drop it from a third-floor window.
Ah, but all readers of Southern Living know that they should never stop with a mere one pumpkin. That would show restraint and sloth, as if they had some other way to spend their free time. So we present wonderful decorating ideas like this.
You know what the dog is thinking: “I believe my master has overlooked the fact that there is open space for at least 40 more pumpkins.”
You need pumpkins. Lots of em. Gargantuan ones. Pumpkins you can eat, pumpkins you can smash, pumpkins you can carve, and pumpkins you can stack. You are sick, but you know it. And that is the first step towards recovery.