Who says Halloween only lasts one day? For many of us, the days leading up to the holiday may include a trip to the local pumpkin patch, farmer’s market or grocery store to find the perfect pumpkin to carve and decorate our porch.
The practice of carving pumpkins on Halloween is thought to have originated in Ireland, where people originally carved scary faces into turnips to ward off evil spirits. When Irish immigrants arrived in North America, they found the native pumpkin a much more suitable carving medium, and the whimsical tradition has spread across the continent and beyond.
In Ontario, a wide variety of pumpkins are grown with miniature varieties like ‘Baby Boo’, ‘Sweetie Pie’, Jack-be-Little’ and ‘Munchkin’, so the notion of naming this beautiful squash is not new. We do feel it could (and should) be taken even further.
That’s why this year, we’re staring our celebration a few days early by placing ‘Pumpkin Patch Kids’ in unexpected places around our neighbourhoods. Carving small pumpkins with their own names and personalities and leaving them for people to encounter and take home is a fun and unique way to pass along the spirit of the season. It’s also a wonderful way to help support local pumpkin and squash farmers this year!
Carve a small jack-o-lantern (or as many as you like!).
Write a short note with the name and a couple of fun personality traits about your jack-o-lantern, asking the finder to take the jack-o-lantern home to their porch or window sill. Encourage finders to take a photo of their foundling in its new home and post it on Instagram with #pumpkinpatchkids and #savourontario. Ask them to continue the game by creating a new Pumpkin Patch Kid for someone else to find.
Hi! My name is Gourdie. I really love mystery novels and people-watching from porches or windows.
I’m looking for a home where I can bring a little light this Halloween. Please take me home with you and share my photo on Instagram using #pumpkinpatchkid and #savourontario.
If finding me made you happy and you know how to carve a pumpkin, please consider creating a new foundling for someone else to discover. Carry on the Halloween fun!
Place the note inside your jack-o-lantern, and write a second note that says, “Pumpkin Patch Kid looking for a good home.” along the edge of the second piece of paper.
Under cover of darkness on the days before Halloween, leave your jack-o-lantern foundling(s) on park benches, street corners or anywhere they’re sure to be seen and inspire. Tuck your second note underneath each one to make sure finders know they are meant to be taken home and enjoyed.
For a safe Pumpkin Patch Kid experience for all, be sure to wash and sanitize your hands prior to carving and dropping off your pumpkin foundling!
Find out where to find some of Ontario’s finest pumpkin-picking spots!