Be the Pumpkin, A Personal Story

I remember, sometimes people called me Pumpkin when I was little. Little and cute, it seemed to me, because no one does that now. But what I remember most is being a pumpkin, actually being one for a few moments one year at Halloween.

Mom made the costumes for all of us. I was probably in first or second grade, and I don’t remember if all my older brothers and sisters were also pumpkins, or just some of them. I do know there were at least four of us who dressed up that year. And so there we were, in our homemade costumes, winning a prize at some school dance or another for the older kids. The whole family could go, so I got another chance to wear the costume, after trick-or-treating and the school Halloween parade. “Third time’s the charm,” as they say.

But it took a long time to get to that point. First, Mom had to make the costumes. To this day, over 20 years later, I wonder what possessed her to make them all! But we were to be pumpkins, and hers were the hands that made it so.

Mom always was crafty. Yeah, take that any way you like, because she was and is. She could do anything with some felt, a big ole’ trash bag, and a sewing machine. Oh, and the tape. Don’t forget the double-sided tape! Because that, my friends, was important.

So, the costume. What was it like? Well, if memory serves, I had a green stem with green leaves on top of my red hair. Sounds more like a Christmas tree, but it worked. That was all felt. And it was glued together, so it pretty much formed a hat.

Then, there was the trash bag. With holes for arms and legs, it went on like a jumper. But being plastic, we didn’t want it to rip. So it took some doing and at least one other person to get me into the bag.

I don’t know if the bag was already orange, or if painting was another of Mom’s talents put to use that year. But I know the result was me, with the pumpkin head and orange body. And I was big, let me tell you. Big and round. That impressed me so much, how such a skinny kid could be made so pumpkin-like by filling the bag up with, paper, was it? I sort of recall making a rustling sound as I walked, so I guess it was.

And the tape? Well, that kept the pumpkin-bag shoulders on my shoulders. It stuck to my shirt or dress or whatever I wore under the costume. Like I said, the tape was really important. And I felt important carrying a roll of tape around. That was the coolest thing!

Now would probably be a good time to explain why this pumpkin thing meant so much to me. Halloween, if not before that, has been my favorite holiday ever since. And it wasn’t just because of the candy. It’s the pumpkins! I love pumpkins! It goes back to “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” Thanks to Charles Schultz for this enduring character. So I was honored to dress as my favorite Fall fixture.

I didn’t care who liked it, though clearly, people did. I didn’t care who noticed. I didn’t care who helped me into the costume. I just had fun being who and what I was. And every year at Halloween I vow I’ll be a pumpkin. But I’ve never pulled it off again. Although I admit, I came pretty close the year I was pregnant!

Now I realize I don’t have to be little and cute, or big and round for that matter. I just have to have fun being who and what I am. Not just at Halloween, but all year long.

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