Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

I’m not anti pumpkin, but… October 30, 2013

The $10 ginormous pumpkins.

The ginormous $10 pumpkins.

JUST DAYS BEFORE HALLOWEEN, Steve Twiehoff of Twiehoff Gardens, a family run produce business on Faribault’s east side, was trying to pitch an 85-pound pumpkin to me. For $10, the pumpkin would be mine and Steve would even load it into the van.

“The neighbor kids will love you,” Steve encouraged.

One of two wagonloads of pumpkins at Twiehoff's Garden.

One of two wagonloads of pumpkins at Twiehoff’ Gardens.

But truth be told, I don’t intend to purchase a pumpkin, big or small, this year.

All sizes of pumpkins are available.

All sizes of pumpkins are available.

Does that cast me in the role of a pumpkin Grinch? Maybe.

Late afternoon sunshine slants through the open poleshed door, spotlighting pumpkins for sale at Twiehoff Gardens.

Late afternoon sunshine slants through the open poleshed door, spotlighting pumpkins for sale at Twiehoff Gardens.

In reality, the lack of a pumpkin purchase projects my present life phase as an empty nester. With no kids in the house, there’s no need to carve a jack-o-lantern. Not that I ever did; that was my husband’s job.

In 1994, my daughters, Amber, left, and Miranda, right, dressed as a butterfly and Dalmatian respectively. Their 10-month-old brother, Caleb, was too young to go trick-or-treating.

In 1994, my daughters, Amber, left, and Miranda, right, dressed as a butterfly and Dalmatian respectively. Their 10-month-old brother, Caleb, was too young to go trick-or-treating.

I focused, instead, on creating homemade costumes for our trio. Those ranged from taping hundreds of cotton balls onto a garbage bag for a sheep costume to stitching strands of red yarn onto trimmed panty hose for Raggedy Ann’s hair to dabbing black spots onto a white t-shirt for a Dalmatian to painting butterfly wings. What moms won’t do.

Five years later Caleb headed out the door dressed as an elephant.

Five years later Caleb headed out the door dressed as an elephant.

I also transformed kids into an elephant, angel, pirate, cowboy and even a skunk, plus a few more characters/animals I’ve long forgotten.

Yes, I’ve done the Halloween thing. So, if for a few years I fail to buy a pumpkin, please excuse me.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


34 Responses to “I’m not anti pumpkin, but…”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    I just bought pumpkins on Monday! I fell to neighborhood pressure, I admit it. All our neighbors have these elaborate displays and I had nothing. So I bought some pumpkins, dug the scarecrows out of the garage and set them out on the front steps with my mums. Nothing fabulous and there will be no pumpkin carving but now it looks a little more like fall.
    My favorite costumes I made for the boys were lobsters (they were soooooo cute) and the elaborate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes. Ah…memories!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      My neighbor across the street has her yard decorated with Styrofoam gravestones (one blew into my yard), pumpkins and bats strung from a tree. Other than that, no one has decorations out, thus no pressure on me.

      I bet your boys were adorable in those costumes. Oh, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…our girls loved them.

  2. cecilia Says:

    gorgeous costumes, I wait until after halloween then buy all the cut price pumpkins for DAISY! Cows love pumpkins and people leaving them to rot on their doorsteps makes me weep! such a waste of good food.. c

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks, C. Do locals know you feed pumpkins to Daisy? I bet many would be happy to donate to the cause.

      I grew up on a dairy farm, as you know, and I don’t recall my dad ever feeding pumpkins to the cows. But, hey, whatever works and is good for them.

  3. Mere Frost Says:

    I love pumpkins!!! I mostly think in terms of food now! But I do decorate my home and front yard! I know…no one really sees it, but I so love the holidays!!! I can’t imagine ever getting to the time in life where I lose my taste for fun, celebration and a little magic! Now I am not talking long freakish nails here…LOL But a lovely smiling jack o’ lantern!
    Yes, yes, yes!!! 😉

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I need to adopt your attitude. To me, holiday decorating seems like “work.”

      Speaking of long freakish fingernails, you need to check out a blog post published by my friend Beth Ann at It’s Just Life. She photographed the long freakish nails of a fellow air traveler. Here’s the link: http://bethannchiles.com/2013/10/30/wordless-wednesday-87/

      • Mere Frost Says:

        If you were my neighbor I would have you chuckling everday Audrey! 😉 Oh the fun we would have!!!!
        I saw Beth’s blog this morning! Yikes! Gross! Dirt and germ collectors!!! !
        Not for me….no no no….I understand that others like them and that’s fine for them…but can you imagine snagging one of them and having your nail ripped right off!!!!! OUCH!
        My father-in-law just had surgery to remove a fingernail that was caught on something and split and partially torn. Very dangerous!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        After I wrote my comment, I saw that you had commented on Beth Ann’s fingernail post. I don’t get it either. Why would anyone grow nails that long?

        Your father-in-law’s surgery sounds painful and, as you say, dangerous. I hope he’s OK now.

        Consider us virtual neighbors and make me laugh anytime you wish.

      • Mere Frost Says:

        Kids make life fun and exciting! I wouldn’t have missed being a mom for the world! They also drive you crazy too! LOL Christmas is the holiday where I go whole hog! We spoil them and have fun doing it! Well…Kevin can be rather Scroogie…but I soften him up and he enjoys the holidays for me! 😉 Oh Ebeneezer! Relax and have some hot chocolate and a cookie! 😀

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Ha, ha. I can only imagine how much fun any holiday is at your house.

        I’ll have one of my three home for Christmas, the son from Boston, if he ever purchases his plane ticket. The other daughter will be working and the other in California with her husband’s family.

  4. Mere Frost Says:

    And I love that elephant!!! Very creative and cool!!!! 😀

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, that elephant. He turned out so cute. My daughter Miranda also actually wore the costume before her brother did.

      • Mere Frost Says:

        I miss those days! That was a great costume! And I also loved the Dalmation too! 😀

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Those days are fleeting, aren’t they? And sometimes, when you’re in the midst of those child-rearing years, they seem to move slowly. And I was blessed with three children, with eight years between the youngest and oldest.

  5. Mere Frost Says:

    Very cute kids by the way!!!! 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you. BTW, did you see my post about the Star Wars decorated pumpkin? I sneaked it in last evening and I think readers are missing it. I don’t like to publish two posts in one day, but I needed to get “May the force of creativity be with you this Halloween” online BEFORE Halloween. I always have an abundance of stories to share…

  6. I am with you this year in not purchasing a pumpkin and did not even purchase candy – oh the horror!!! My focus is more on hosting Thanksgiving this year for my family. I think it is pretty cool you made homemade costumes, especially with all those cotton balls:) Happy Hump Day!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, taping cotton balls onto a garbage bag for a sheep costume proved to be one of my crazier and more time consuming Halloween creations. As I recall, Miranda won a prize for her sheep outfit in a costume contest.

      I bought candy for trick or treaters and mailed Halloween cards to my kids, but haven’t done anything else for Halloween.

      • All that hard work received a prize – love that:) Recently moved and trick or treaters are not going to find us. Plus the malls, places of work and gyms put on trick or treat events for the kiddies here too – no shortage of candy!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Oh, yes, there is plenty of candy to be found for trick or treaters.

  7. Jackie Says:

    I just purchased a big ole pumpkin yesterday and sat it on the counter for my dear Gavin to carve. I told him as long as he was living with us, he will continue to carve the pumpkin. I just reminded him tonight that Halloween is tomorrow night, his reply, “I know I know” I dont blame you for not wanting to buy one Audrey, I’ll probably do the same once gavin leaves (cuz he’s my pumpkin cutter-upper)!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I love that title, Pumpkin Cutter-Upper. Tell him to slip that job onto a resume someday. 🙂

  8. treadlemusic Says:

    Maybe if you think of it as putting a touch of Fall on your doorstep (leaf wreath, gourds/whole pumpkins, silk leaf decorations?) it will put some distance between your lovely kidlet memories and the future grand-kidlets!!!!!! “Empty nest” is merely a time to re-group til the next generation comes along!!!!! Hugs…….

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      That sounds like the perspective I need to adopt. Good to hear from you, Doreen.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        I’m still sorting!! Laundry is done…yay! So many photos to go through….I need to break them in to groups or it will be too overwhelming. Just put out a few Fall pieces today so my comment came from someone a bit “behind in the game”! It is a bit of a challenge to get excited about such season trappings when the “spark” of the youngsters is a bit dimmer (it will return!!!). Blessings……

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Welcome home. I know what you mean about all the photos…

  9. I adore pumpkins. Just looking at them and also carving them. I love that (Colin doesn’t, so I get to do it!) They’re the only Halloween decorations I put out.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I’m curious as to how you carve your pumpkins. Traditional faces? Scary? What?

      BTW, check out this photo of a carved pumpkin I spotted in Plainview on Sunday: https://mnprairieroots.com/2013/10/29/may-the-force-of-creativity-be-with-you-this-halloween/

      I think readers are missing that post because I published two in one day. I just love this jack-o-lantern.

      • I almost always do traditional. Sometimes two-faced…but in a good way. 🙂 I never have done the new-fangled carving where they don’t carve all the way through. It looks neat, but I want the traditional. Lucy’s this Year was toothless, as is she (front teeth). I did see that photo and “liked” it but didn’t comment and then I got distracted and didn’t get back to it – the Star Wars pictures totally reminded me of my son!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Oh, yes, boys on their Star Wars. My baby brother was totally into Star Wars.

        Love that Lucy’s pumpkin this year is toothless.

      • It’s possible that the main reason it’s toothless is because I forgot to cut out the teeth…but then I made the best of it and encouraged her that it looks just like her right now and she went with it!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Smart mama you are.

  10. Judy Onstad Says:

    I’ve become a pumpkin grinch too! No kids around these days but I do miss it sort of! I’ve never liked Halloween actually but I did enjoy seeing the kids (I had six) dress up…I made some and I bought some costumes over the years.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      That’s a few kids (six) to costume for Halloween. I always enjoy seeing the kids’ costumes, especially when they are homemade.

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