"Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.”
These are some very scary lines from Hamlet that send chills up my spine every Halloween. I hope they spook you as well...
On a more serious note, I haven’t heard from my dear friend Mr. Pumpkin (head of the Pumpkin Family) in a few years, and this is very disconcerting. I have no way to get in touch with him, and fear the worst. I read the other day the demand for pumpkin pie filling has increased tenfold over the last three years.
Let’s hope for the best, however, and reminisce over better times in a post from exactly five years ago in Jeff’s Corner on October 31, 2014:
Well, like clockwork, my old friend and wine mentor Mr. Pumpkin gave me a jingle yesterday. He always checks in the day before Halloween, and always wants to send best regards from the entire Pumpkin family to the entire Grape Creek family and all our friends and Wine Club members.
This is my only surviving photo of the Pumpkins, and I snapped it maybe 15 years ago when they were on vacation in Port Aransas. The Pumpkins are a bit austere, and hail from a long lineage of gourd growers in Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco.
Mr. Pumpkin, who’s secret first name is Poblano, is the big guy in the middle. Ms. Pumpkin is on his left, and they’re holding the twins, Pinot and Patootie. We don’t talk much about his oldest son, Roberto, in the Tortuga Flats visor. It’s rumored he’s in the joint, somewhere down in Jamaica.
Every year, Mr. Pumpkin and I always end up reminiscing about the golden years of Halloween, when we were young and allowed to roam the streets at will without adult supervision. We would canvas entire blocks with our friends, and amass large grocery bags of candy that never had to be inspected for safety pins or razor blades.
What followed next, however, was half the fun. For the next few days we would gather together, dump our candy in front of us in a large pile, and trade the stuff just like baseball cards. A Snickers carried the same weight as a Mickey Mantle card, while a bag of candy corn was equal to a minor league prospect.
After lots of laughs, Mr. Pumpkin turned serious. He was very concerned about his sweet Patootie Pumpkin. At sixteen, she had grown up to be quite rebellious and outspoken, much like her mother. Then came the unthinkable. He confided that he found Smashing Pumpkins CD’s hidden beneath her mattress.
I told him the best thing he could do was pour a few glasses of wine, play the Halloween Pandora station, and listen to “Monster Mash” about a dozen times.