Children are beautiful, precious little miracles. A glance into the bright eyes of a child bares all the wonder and innocence of the world that we adults have forgotten over the years. These little angels pitter-pattering in their soon-to-be-too-small shoes are the future, and I have a deep admiration for youngsters… everywhere except the pumpkin patch in October.

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If a kid is in a stroller, is at an age where he or she can attempt to talk or toddle around, is capable of running, crying, laughing, making jokes that aren’t funny, demanding things, or simply existing, he or she is guilty of being an asshole at the pumpkin farm.

Parents, I know you do your best to control your kids in the presence of pumpkins, haunted houses, corn mazes, and caramel covered apples, but it’s just not possible. Pumpkin picking is to Halloween what Christmas tree cutting is to Christmas; in the scope of beloved children’s Halloween past-times, pumpkin picking is right up there with selecting a costume and trick-or-treating.

As an adult, I’ve had to forfeit a lot when it comes to Halloween. It’s no longer appropriate for me to go to door-to-door asking for candy because I’m “too old.” It only becomes acceptable for me to trick-or-treat again when I’m accompanied by a six-month old tagalong in a stroller that can’t even chew food yet dressed as an adorable candy corn—with that one addition, suddenly my presence on front porches will be welcomed with Three Musketeers and costume cooing once more. Throughout adulthood you’ll receive numerous invitations to Halloween parties with the expectation you come in a slutty or clever costume and get wasted while listening to “Monster Mash.”

I can accept that my routine Halloween activities have changed because of my age, and make no mistake, Smartees do go down pretty nicely when chased with a little booze, but damn it, I am not giving up the pumpkin patch to these lovable munchkins.

When you show up at the pumpkin farm and you’re childless—no stroller, carrier, diaper bag, or baby bump—you may as well be wearing a sign that says, “I’m in a the market for a child-sized kidney,” or “I’m potentially devious because I haven’t procreated yet.” …And don’t even consider showing up in a group any larger than a couple; you’ll be treated like rapscallions who came not to pick pumpkins, but to go all Grand Theft Auto on a hayride. In October, the pumpkin farm is a hallowed place of bonding for families, but could you parents at least dispense with the disapproving looks? You were once childless at the pumpkin patch, too.

No matter what manner of merriment you attempt, kids will be everywhere ruining your fun with their sticky hands, adorable black and orange outfits, and smug sense of superiority that they’re more entitled to having a good time than any adults are just because they haven’t been alive as long and the tooth fairy still exists for them.

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You’ll get in line for the haunted house, and by some miracle, within a few minutes you’ll find yourself right at the doorway to the house of horrors. Unfortunately, what takes place here on this precipice is far more terrifying than any exhibit that could possibly be inside that funhouse: fad-named children of all ages will be throwing tantrums, crying, acting tough—and most tragically—blocking your entry. Poor little Jamiesen will be crying his eyes out because the dark reminds him of that time mommy ran out of chocolate chip cookies and had to substitute Oreos for his afternoon cookie break. Maddiesyn will be consoling her tearful little sister Lufituaeb (“beautiful” backwards) that you can only die once. A stroller will have collapsed just inside the door, resulting in a three-toddler pile up that’s caused a serious delay. Someone’s little cherub “will” have to go to the bathroom, but judging by the smell of that twerp as he shoves past you, he hasn’t yet mastered the future tense yet. Sadly, an adult’s experience in the corn maze isn’t any less daunting than the haunted house.

I always show up to the maize maze with a genuine optimism that I’ll be able to get lost. There’s something thrilling about losing your sense of direction in a controlled environment among cornstalks (unless you’ve seen Children of the Corn). Deep down, I think we all want to pretend we’re laboratory mice for fifteen minutes, and corn mazes have cashed in on that desire for decades.

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You’ll be in the corn maze channeling Meryl Streep in your best faux-hysteria when some charming little brat will skip up to you and tell you, “You’re going the wrong way! The exit is due south. You should turn to your left, walk straight 32 paces, make a right, go straight, and then you’ll be at the exit, which is at coordinates +32° 34′ 24.00″, -80° 32′ 57.00″.”

When some navigationally inclined little kid isn’t ruining your delightful displacement, there’s more crying, complaining, and whining about wanting corn on the cob.

The act of pumpkin picking is where carved pumpkin heads start rolling. Perhaps more-so than any finicky child, I have an eye for a good pumpkin. I can spot a good stem and identify a convex surface ideal for carving. There are a lot of unsuitable pumpkins in every harvest with broken stems, bad spots, unsightly white patches, dents, etc., so the pumpkin selection process is about as contentious as an episode of The Bachelorette.

I’ll find one impressive pumpkin and toss it in the wheelbarrow, take a few steps, unearth another candidate, and compare the two. As I make my rounds I might find a third option that may be better than the second, but it’s a touch too oblong for my taste, and its stem is vastly inferior compared to the first pumpkin I picked up. Once I’ve gathered up my potential pumpkins, I put them in a pumpkin lineup, stand three feet back with my thumb and forefinger resting on my chin, and decide which of these lucky gourds will become my Halloween ward and spend the rest of its natural life carved up and exposed in my house.

Stay away from my pumpkins.Source
Stay away from my pumpkins.
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During my process, these grubby little kids will release their parents’ hands and be freed from their strollers. The pumpkin patch kids are crafty, and they can tell I’m a seasoned pumpkin picking pro.

They’ll notice my hoard of corpulent pumpkins and obliviously begin to swarm. Their parents will encourage their misbehavior by cheerfully bellowing, “Do you see one you like there? How about one of the pumpkins that childless young woman is carefully examining? Those are perfect!”

Suddenly a crowd of munckins will surround me, and I’m not proud of my behavior, but I have to protect what’s potentially mine. I’m forced to stoop down to their eye level and do my best Gollum impression, safeguarding my pumpkins with my outstretched arms while spitting, “MY PRECIOUS!!!!!!!!!”

Throughout all of these blameless attempts at having fun, children, parents, pumpkin patch employees, and security will make me feel like a second-class citizen just because I’m an adult trying to have fun at the pumpkin farm.

I know holidays and celebrations are more important for children, but Halloween is one holiday that’s as appropriate for adults as it is for kids, so why should these little rascals be treated more favorably than me? Is it so obscene that I want to pet a goat at the petting zoo? Watch some pigs race? Pick a pumpkin that will be insultingly overpriced compared with those in the grocery store, but whose quality I’ll inflate because it came from an actual pumpkin patch and not some cheap store end-cap?

We adults aren’t sitting on some big secret about Halloween like we are with Christmas and Santa Claus, so I don’t feel guilty for pushing these greedy imps out of my way at the petting zoo, sitting in the very front row at the pig races to the dismay of the Girl Scouts troop behind me whose view I obstructed, and most importantly, I will not be forfeiting my enviable pumpkins just so some little turd in a ninja costume can have a happy Halloween.

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Fellow childless, Halloween-loving adults, we need to demand there be an adults-only pumpkin patch. There doesn’t have to be porn, alcohol, gratuitous profanity, or violence (though boozy pumpkin picking does sound intriguing)—we just need a safe place for our inner-child to roam free in the pumpkin fields without contempt or snootiness.

Let us have the opportunity to rent a wheelbarrow without getting embroiled in a partisan temper tantrum where we’ll be forced to decide if we agree with the overly dramatic parent or the out of control child. Let us pick a pumpkin without fearing robbery from some little tyke who’ll disarm us with his dimples. Let us ride on uncomfortable hay without some 4-year-old Einstein remarking, “Aren’t you too old to be here?”

You’re never too old for the pumpkin patch, and having some little booger as your +1 shouldn’t be the only way to get some respect.

7 thoughts on “Children of the Pumpkin Patch

  1. “No matter what manner of merriment you attempt, kids will be everywhere ruining your fun with their sticky hands, adorable black and orange outfits, and smug sense of superiority that they’re more entitled to having a good time than any adults are just because they haven’t been alive as long and the tooth fairy still exists for them.” That made me laugh. I certainly have kids to take to the pumpkin patch, but I wouldn’t mind an adult-version as well. I still have my own Halloween needs after all.

    1. Exactly! I’m not hating on the youngsters, I’m just trying to get what’s coming to me: a suitable pumpkin, a judgment-free hayride, and a haunted house experience that doesn’t make me want to get my tubes tied.

  2. Having kids around for Halloween in order to gain candy for your own personal stash almost makes us for the Christmas crap you will have to buy them and for the whininess for the rest of the year. You should consider renting a kid for two hours to get your candy, then dropping them off at the rent-a-kid center so you can go to your “adult” party.

    1. If only the rent-a-kid center existed. That would probably be my ticket into the Children’s Museum, too. (What? It’s fun, and fun shouldn’t be reserved just for tots.)

  3. It’s too bad kids can’t just get their assholiness (Yes it’s a word; I just used it.), out at the pumpkin patch in one fell swoop.
    Great post, Katie – again!

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