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VOL. 37 | NO. 42 | Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall decorating goes too far

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Although there is a band called Smashing Pumpkins, that’s not what this week’s article is about. I’m thinking more of decorating to have an awesome looking pumpkin door display. A smashing display of autumn!

As my husband and I were out and about the city last week, I couldn’t help but notice the huge amount of autumn decorations in the stores and in my neighborhood adorning the front porches and yards. I guess I am out of the loop, because I just don’t get it.

It’s not just about Halloween, either. It’s about the season of autumn: haystacks, corn stalks, decorative wreaths with brightly colored leaves hanging on the doors and, of course, pumpkins.

Autumn today is not about just one pumpkin on the doorstep to frighten away unwanted spirits, but several pumpkins – and a whole lot more.

There are painted pumpkins, pumpkins with flowers planted in them, pumpkins with warts, albino pumpkins, pumpkins placed alongside huge gourds and lush mounds of brightly colored mums.

And I have even seen orange lights strung around some of the displays.

When I was young, we had one pumpkin. All of the family gathered around the table and carved the messy thing as an afternoon or evening of entertainment.

Then we would happily lug it to the doorstep, stick a candle inside, my mom or dad would light it (that was the dangerous part, so it was left up to the adults) and we children would shout with glee and laugh at the funny face we’d made.

All happy, and a great memory made.

The inside of the pumpkin meat was for pies, and the seeds were roasted. So, it was a whole different story that still holds nice memories.

Pumpkin muffins

3 1/2 cups of self-rising flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup of Canola oil
2 cups of fresh pumpkin, pureed
1 cup of pecans pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; butter muffin pan. Combine the pumpkin, vanilla, eggs, oil, and sugar in a small bowl. Sift the flour and cinnamon. Combine the dry ingredients and whisk until blended, but still slightly lumpy. Add pecans. Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full. Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned.

Now, you can buy pre-lit, pre-carved, foam-type pumpkins in any size and color. And if you are as zealous (“fanatical” and “crazy” are two other good words) about pumpkins as one of my neighbors, you can buy two large, foam pumpkins for $150 each and place them by your front door.

No, I did not add too many zeros in that dollar amount. I did say she was a bit zealous. She was also hoping her husband wouldn’t notice...

As for myself, I’m not sure. I’m either an old-fogey, a party-pooper or too lazy – inject whatever descriptive term you like – but one pumpkin, maybe two, if I am in the mood, is all my front door gets.

And those are usually uncarved, real pumpkins from the market, which I will cut up and bake later.

When my kids were at home, it was different, as they always wanted to decorate, and I would for their enjoyment and memories. And, if I know my grand babies are going to be in town, I decorate, too, but that’s not often, and I try not to overdo it.

However, doesn’t it seem like the season of autumn is all of a sudden overkill as far as being commercialized?

Check out Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens and other such magazines. They are loaded with ideas to decorate your house inside and out.

Do the majority of women do this, and I just don’t know it? Am I that far behind the times?

Some of the homes in the magazines are almost as heavily decorated for autumn as they are for Christmas.

On the front page of Southern Living for October, I can’t imagine how much it would cost, or how long it took, to put that display together!

Although there are professionals who will come and do all the set-up, and maybe, if weather permits, your elegant display will last until it’s time for Christmas lights.

Well, should you drive by my house this fall, you might find a few potted mums and one or two pumpkins, of which the seeds have been roasted. I will also hand out candy on Halloween because I love seeing all the little kiddos. However, that’s all folks!

As I said before, use any adjective above for me, but in my opinion, as much as I love this weather and the colors of this season, the decorating is getting a bit out of hand.

On the other hand, should you have a pumpkin, and are planning on cooking up the tender, sweet flesh, here’s a great recipe for some pumpkin muffins. They’re a great treat on a cool autumn morning.

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