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Happy Halloween: The American Public Needs Pumpkins

Sometimes we love what the public tells us about us. For example, this year the public spent $113 million on pumpkins, which is nearly equal to the total spent in 2011—a year that didn’t include one of the worst storms in history unleashing havoc upon the entire east coast just days before the holiday.

Most of us adults still have fond memories of Halloween pumpkins:

We recall those chilly autumn nights carving jack-o-lanterns with our brothers, debating the contours of the sinister mouth or eyes and centering the nose over uncooperative bulges while slopping out heaps of orange guts and slimy seeds onto wet newspapers.

Maybe we still nurse remembrances of being rebellious teenagers and smashing pumpkins with our ridiculous friends at the end of a cul-de-sac, holding our first beers and lying about our girlfriends. Adolescence, ugh.

Or maybe we even remember watching our own children scurry around a pumpkin patch, ebulliently selecting the perfect pumpkin as if it were something they were going to have forever. At least they may have the custom forever; as this article states, “Demand for pumpkins has risen since the late 1980s, with the emerging popularity of pick-your-own pumpkin farms across the country, according to Steve Reiners, an associate professor in horticulture at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.”

America loves pumpkins, and it’s a great thing: The public is comprised of people, and people like to feel connected. That’s what being human is all about—meaning something to someone else. We often establish and extend such personal connections through traditions, and Halloween is a great tradition. We know this because the public tells us—by spending its money, investing its time and expending its energy via participation.

Halloween pumpkins have nothing to do with the world’s endless and sundry problems. In times when so many are struggling for so many different reasons, the public needs pumpkins. Carve them. Crush them. Carry them.

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