The Commissary Pumpkin Patch is Fine


Sometimes I have to be the witch and set some boundaries. One of these boundaries is that we can’t start talking about our Halloween costumes when the temperature is the surface of the sun or basically until the end of August or early September. This sounds harsh, but my head starts to feel like Medusa’s, with all the snake like ideas slithering around about who they could be, how much fake blood we don’t have, or how much glitter we’ll need to buy, etc.

Once the kids are allowed to talk about Halloween costumes, another battle begins. Pumpkins seem to hit the stores much too early and since we’re not living in Alaska anymore, I have to ask the children if they want to carve a moldy squishy pumpkin from an idyllic farm in Maryland that we purchase months early or a nice, firm easy to carve pumpkin that we buy the week of Halloween.

Photo by Sebastien Lapointe on Unsplash

As much as the children love mold and science experiments, I convince them with my brilliant logic.

I like a good photo backdrop as well as the next mom. But how far am I willing to go to get it? Turns out not that far when I’m feeling stressed and underwater like an apple bobbing in a tank. Enter Commissary.A girl wearing a face mask holds a small pumpkin. There is a pumpkin patch and fall decorations in the background.

For the last several years I’ve taken my girls to the magical, (because it’s close) Commissary pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins. It was conveniently set up right by the bulk foods and had the scent of large bags of dog food and 458 count scented trash bags. With the hay bales carefully laid out in the the warehouse, it was almost as bucolic as the Winslow Homer “Boys in a Pasture” painting. Almost.

A girl stands in a pumpkin patch with hay bales and pumpkins around her.

Another plus from buying a Commissary pumpkin from Uncle Sam’s pumpkin patch is that there are not that many to chose from the last week. This might seem like a bad thing, but it’s much easier to select your future jack-o-lantern from a short lineup. Once you’re looking for one with a good stem, flat-ish spot for the face and a reasonable enough size you can scoop out the guts in one night, it’s easy to pick and it’s probably at the bottom of the cardboard pen decorated with a scarecrow.

I haven’t always bought my pumpkins the easy way. In Alaska, we visited a pick your own pumpkin farm.  It was a delight for the children, but I could not find a scale to weigh them out in the field, which made me feel nervous and a little miserly. We all enjoyed the hayride back and when if came my time to pay for our hand-chosen pumpkins,  I’m fairly sure it cost me almost a million dollars. The only person who paid more than me was my friend Carla, who has a few more children than I have. We commiserated and said we would make our children enjoy the million dollar pumpkins. And never buy them there again.

If you happened to find yourself at a picturesque farm I’m sure it will be amazing, but if you find yourself picking up groceries and that enormous bag of dog food, don’t feel bad enjoying the beauty of the Commissary pumpkin patch while you’re there.