Publisher’s Letter: October is Pumpkin Month — a Tradition for Many Families

By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

It seems every year Halloween decorations go up for sale earlier and earlier. I have seen them as early as July! Not kidding — ghosts, ghouls, orange lights, OH MY!

But here we are with late October just around the corner. Evidence is in the fall events. It’s so great to see them back — I missed them last year.

Over the years my family has built a tradition. We visit a pumpkin patch, pick out our pumpkin and participate in all the festivities. There are some great local farms around, with fun events for kids — and adults too! In this edition, we have a Northern Colorado list of them. Thanks, Annie, for the research!

It’s great to see the traditions stick in my children’s minds. Just the other day I was walking into a local grocery store with my eight-year-old son when he said, “Daddy, those pumpkins sure are perfect.” I said, “Yes they are, should we get one?” He replied, “No, because I would much rather have a not-so-perfect one from a local patch, and it’s more fun to pick one out anyways.” It was cute — it reminded me of years past when we got to the patch after a frost or snow only to find so many “mushy” pumpkins. I’m putting it in my calendar again for this year.

But the timing has to be just right to go to the pumpkin patch. Too early, the squirrels at home eat them. Too late, and the pumpkins in the patch can be lost to frost or snow.

Also, in my calendar, is one of our other favorite fall events, the Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off at Fort Collins Nursery. North Forty News has sponsored this event since I owned the newspaper — actually, it was one of our first-ever event sponsorships. Massive pumpkins come from all over the state to compete for a cash prize. It’s amazing to see the love and work that so many people put into a single pumpkin — you won’t believe the size of them! It’s a must-see local event treasure.

The white pumpkin, just before the dog peed on it (Photo by Blaine Howerton)

Stemming (pardon the pun) from the annual pumpkin traditions is the green thumb in me. A few years back we got some pumpkins we really loved. They were white and very unusual looking. So, I took the seeds after the carving, cleaned them, put them in the refrigerator for an entire winter, and then grew them the next summer! I was so proud in the spring when the little plants sprung up from my indoor pots and I had successfully transplanted them to the garden. I was going to continue the tradition until later that summer when the dog peed on the plants and killed them. Ah well, there’s always another year!

I also enjoy hot cider and cider beer. It doesn’t seem to be as big of a deal in Colorado as on the East Coast, but boy, when I find a cider stand I’m there!

Whether you have kids, grandkids, or no kids at all — I highly suggest a visit to one of the fall events — they’re a lot of fun and a great way to experience the new season in Northern Colorado. Make it a tradition and you will make memories that last a lifetime!

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