1 Why Are All The Animals Going To The Barn Halloween – Busting Pumpkins

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Halloween – Busting Pumpkins

As Halloween approaches, I find myself reminiscing about the pleasant late October evenings of my youth in Clinton, Illinois during the early 70’s. Football season, Homecoming, and the Apple & Pork festival, wrapped in the Time of Harvest and ending with Halloween, was always a favorite time of the year.

The groups of boys I “ran” with were good boys in that they all respected their parents and elders and in turn earned their respect. It was … a Halloween, when we were invaded by the mischievous nature of young teenagers.

As a child, pumpkin carving was a family event. With a couple of large spoons, a large knife, a small knife and old newspapers covering the table, “Operation Pumpkin” was ready to begin. Popping the top off the pumpkin, revealing the pungent, goo smell, always resulted in a disgusted expression on my face. After cleaning the cavity, the face was carved, a candle was inserted, and yes, we gave it a name before placing the new family member on our front porch.

Most of our pumpkins would make it through Halloween without incident, however, on two or maybe three occasions, our pumpkin fell victim to unknown killers by being dismembered in the driveway in front of our house. I would later learn that my friends had also suffered losses of their own. It was a sad and frustrating time for everyone.

Many Halloweens later, my friends and I decided we were going to kill a pumpkin. With painted faces and wearing dark clothes we went hunting for the perfect orange specimen in our small town. Between the five of us, we couldn’t find a pumpkin that didn’t belong to someone near or dear to us! Disappointment would build with every glowing pumpkin face we decided to save. From yard to yard, bush to bush, our search continued. Running from barking dogs, sliding on dog poop, sweaty, dirty, tired and smelling like barnyard animals, we spotted the perfect orange ball of goo.

The “sign” belonged to a retired English teacher we all had in high school. The pumpkin was huge, I mean, 1/3 of a large Volkswagen! As we approached the “beast,” we immediately saw that the only thing between the retired English teacher and the pumpkin was a full glass storm door. Sitting in her rocking chair, back to the door, we went in for the kill.

It took three of us to freeze the “excess pumpkins”. Taking short, jerky, small steps, we grunted quietly and laughed from the door to the sidewalk with “King Kong” in total. Not wanting to get caught, we wasted no time and immediately tried to grab the pumpkin. I said, “We tried.” The giant pumpkin would not break! He jumped! We tried four times, laughing at each failure. A boy who tried to shoot him only managed to injure his leg. We were done! Quickly, we lifted the “stubborn fruit” back to its original spot on the English teachers’ front porch and left.

As I drove home, I wondered if it was by chance or the result of years of wisdom that our retired English teacher chose an indestructible pumpkin. I’m sure it was later. Approaching my house, I was greeted by a smashed pumpkin in the middle of the road. I couldn’t help but think, “what the hell would come out of Busting Pumpkins”!

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