Carving a pumpkin in Florida is a tricky thing. If you do it too early, the gourds dissolve into a disgusting puddle on your front porch steps, eaten by bugs and inhabited by frogs. If you do it too late, you're rushing the process, pitting it against finding time to finalize your Voldemort wand made from polymer clay.
This weekend is about the right window for Florida pumpkin success. When selecting your orange destiny, pumpkin experts say to look for one without any obvious rotting dimples. Food site the Kitchn suggests that those of us in warm climates put our pumpkins in the fridge every night to "rehydrate." That's one idea, but what would I do with all those Chinese leftovers?
Pick a pumpkin at one of many patches around town, including the Hyde Park Village Pumpkin Patch in Tampa, the Harvester United Methodist Church in Land O'Lakes, the Heritage United Methodist Church in Clearwater and the Pumpkin School at Clearview United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg. Visit tampabay.com/holiday for more Halloween stories and event listings, as well as the lowdown on more pumpkin patches.
At a loss for a direction to take your pumpkin? Here's some inspo.
Times staff writer Christopher Spata reported on the Feed blog ( tampabay.com/blogs/media) that Donald Trump pumpkins, or "Trumpkins" are a hot commodity this year. Some are carved in the Republican presidential nominee's likeness, while others are drawn with markers and topped with a shock of raffia hair. There are a handful of Hillary Clinton pumpkins floating around as well. If you really want to impress the political junkies, consider a well-carved House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Brad Pitt on one pumpkin, Angelina Jolie on another. Whoever dissolves first lands the next accusatory cover of US Weekly. Alternately, carve Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts pumpkins, then smash them in the streets because love is dead.
My fam actually took the emoji approach last year. We had the frowny face, the face with the crazed spiralized eyeballs, and my personal favorite, the straight-faced emoji, numb and unfeeling. Sure, we can be cynical and say that's appropriate to bring back for 2016, but maybe we need to get into the Halloween spirit on a high note. That's right. I'm suggesting you carve the emoji taco into your pumpkin. What a time to be alive.