Everything’s Coming Up Pumpkins! (and Giveaways)


Three signs for me that autumn is actually here!

The presence of Spiced Cider at Trader Joe’s …

CiderThe ubiquity of pumpkin as an ingredient in everything from soup to muffins to coffee…
PumpkinProductsAnd the appearance of Halloween decorations in the neighborhood! Front yards sprout tombstones and the occasional body part, jack-o’-lanterns and scarecrows leer from porches, and ghosts and witches dangle from trees.  Here is a typical example:

TombstonesOther houses–more ambitious–erect whole cemeteries, mad scientist’s labs, and  dungeons in honor of All Hallows’ Eve. This house seems to be setting up as a haunted mansion in the style of Disneyland’s, with gargoyles grinning from the gateposts and tiny skull garlands festooning the iron fence.

HauntedMansionBut my personal favorite is this lighthearted, whimsical display of classic Warner Brothers characters, all set to go trick-or-treating. But then I’d like my “scary” well-laced with humor. (The one genre you’ll never catch me reading voluntarily is horror!) See how many of them you can identify beneath their “clever” disguises!

WBHalloweenEven the local fauna seem to be getting in the spirit of things. Is it bad luck when a black cat–with witchy green eyes–crosses your path?

BlackCatWell, not when she only wants her stomach scratched!

CatRollingSo, dear readers, what signs mean autumn to you? I’ll be giving away a signed copy of A Song at Twilight to one commenter this week, until midnight PST, October 20.

ETA: Jean LeZotte wins this week’s giveaway of A Song at Twilight! Please email me with your address, and I’ll send the book off to you as quickly as possible.

8 thoughts on “Everything’s Coming Up Pumpkins! (and Giveaways)

  1. When I lived in California and Louisiana it was when time change, because the weather pretty much stayed the same. Maybe in Louisiana it was when we hit winter and the weather was colder than before. However, there wasn’t much change. Now living Montana, I have to say that it’s kind of cool to see the leaves change colors and noticing the crispiness in the air. Something I never really notice in the other states I have lived in.

    1. Turning leaves are definitely an indicator of autumn’s arrival! We don’t get as much of that here in SoCal as they do on the east coast, but here and there, we can find some brilliant patches of color.

  2. Ah, I grew up in New England, so I really miss the colors of fall; we don’t get any of that down here in Florida! (Strangely, the leaves fall in spring, right before the new ones come in; I’ve sort of gotten used to this new tradition, but I still miss the obvious signs of autumn!) Now Halloween decorations in the stores, that’s when I know fall is here; my own decorations go out at the beginning of October (a mix of sweet and slightly scary; there are a lot of kids in our neighborhood and, being as sensitive as I was when I was young, I’m very conscious of that!) Other people have told us that they know that autumn’s begun when they see our big electric jack-o’-lantern (no real ones in this climate, but this thing is about four feet tall and looks awesome!) comes out of our garage! 😀

    That said, I really miss the smell of fresh pumpkin. One of my favorite scents ever! I stick my head in the bins of pumpkins and inhale just to get a good whiff! 😉

    1. Hi, Jean–

      My parents originally came from New York, so they had vivid memories of watching the leaves turn in the fall. We don’t get as much of that here in SoCal, but there are some places where you can find trees that put on a bit of a show for the season!

      Sounds like you’re taking the right tone with your Halloween decorations. They run the gamut in our neighborhood too: some cute-scary, some macabre. My own tastes run to the former rather than the latter. (I’m not one for the gore, having been traumatized at an early age by a movie tie-in book of Carrie, featuring a blood-drenched Sissy Spacek on the cover!)

      I find pumpkin pleasant enough in its finished form, with spices added, but I prefer the smell of apples overall. Pies, cider, sauce–what’s not to love? 😀

  3. Sandy Xiong

    When I am sneezing my sinus out. This means that the leaves are going to start falling and flowers as well…I know it’s autumn when I start to sneeze or have running nose. Although some obvious signs would be the leaves changing

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