"'It's the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown'"

Knights Giant Pumpkins, a Halloween tradition

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Every October, my family and I drive out to Medina, New York – a town about 45 minutes from campus, and an hour from my house.

I’ve never actually spent any time in Medina, or in the various shops on its streets.

Instead, we take a left and a right and drive along a few roads until we reach Knights Giant Pumpkins – a place whose name, might I add, I only discovered in preparing to write about it.

Enormous 30-plus-pound pumpkins line the lawn in front of the Knights’ house. There’s a small shed on the side that’s full of kids treats and toys with a petting zoo beside it. Behind the house is a corn maze that my father and I have taken to playing corn wars in. We hide from one another and lob corncobs at each other – a few injuries occur here and there, but it’s all in good fun.

There’s a certain rush you feel when you hear the corn stalks crack and a corncob comes flying by your face – to date, no one has taken any corn to the face, or wound up with anything more than a bruise or two.

Corn wars weren’t the only recent addition to our Knights Giant Pumpkin outing, we recently started playing the challenging game of ‘how many pumpkins can you fit in a Prius?’

Our record is three giant pumpkins, four smaller pumpkins, three people and two 60-pound golden retrievers – with the hatch closed.

Halloween seems to change from year to year, but the traditions don’t. I’ll always carve a giant pumpkin or two and roast the seeds while I watch a scary movie.

One minute I was trick or treating, the next I became the person handing out the candy.

The experiencing of exchanging candy with friends turned into buying my own favorites in moderation. I started putting up a few decorations of my own instead of watching my father do all the decorating, and then there’s carving the massive pumpkins we buy each year.

My family buys four or five pumpkins each year, typically three big ones and a few small ones, the carving of which is one of my favorite parts of the fall.

I end up with one fun, often-detailed pumpkin and one hack-n-slash one that looks like the victim of one too many slasher flicks. Last year, I scraped the skin off half the pumpkin’s face, leaving Lenny, my most recent Jason or Michael Myers victim, looking more like Two Face than a zombified Rick Grimes.

Sadly, somewhere in the middle of all those changes, Halloween seemed to lose its popularity where I live. Kids used to line our streets for candy. Now, a few trickle down the sidewalk here and there. Decorations once gaudily placed on everyone’s homes, now characterize a paltry few. And it’s hard to go a Halloween night of surfing the channels for a good scary movie without catching an ad for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Somehow in the time that I grew up, the place I live stopped caring about Halloween and a small part of my childhood seems to dwindle with the popularity of trick-or-treating.

Knights Giant Pumpkins will forever remain a symbol of the fall for me. It was a right of passage to carry one of their hulking pumpkins back to the car on my own and the only constant in the fall.

School can get busy, my social life hectic and I might rarely be home, but I’ll still go out to Knights Giant Pumpkins before Halloween to make my next victim.

With the dwindling popularity of trick-or-treating, my love of Halloween hangs on the resilience of traditions. And as long as Knights Giant Pumpkins stays around, I’ll always have one I can count on.

email: jordan.oscar@ubspectrum.com