I’m not sure when exactly this little tradition started… sometime when I was in junior high, I believe. One year, my mother, being quite festive in the autumn months, had purchased several dozen small pumpkins/gourd-type vegetables for outside decoration. Along with these were the Halloween jack-o-lanterns that my brother and I had carved. Usually, we just turned the jack-o-lanterns to face the house after Halloween until they really degraded badly or it was Thanksgiving, depending on how cold it got and whichever came first. Well, my mother decided that my brother and I should go take all the pumpkins and throw them out into the field in our backyard, y’know, for the squirrels or something. And of course, being young adolescents (and my brother just being slightly insane at that young age), we decided to help the squirrels out. We grabbed a couple of old baseball bats from our arsenal of “Things that Hurt” and proceeded to destroy all pumpkins.
It was visceral, covered in orange slime, guts dangling from our bats. We loved it. So, of course, every year we kept doing it. When I went to college, my brother kept right on doing it by himself. It would take him several hours in the bitter cold sometimes, but he got the biggest kick out of it as my horrified parents stood by the back door.
Somewhere along the way, they moved from horrified to active participants.
Last weekend, I was called for the rather large pumpkin group that needed to be made into bite-size squirrel chunks. I haven’t done this in years, but oh was it fun. The sun was shining, the temperature was around 50 degrees, and it was a beautiful morning to wreck shit. My mother, father, brother and his girlfriend joined me, and honestly looking at the pictures, it appears like a bizarre J. Crew ad or something. You know… where they have all these fall activities/lifestyle shots that just simply would never happen in real life. No one goes outside and frolics in the cold ass autumn.
No one except the Riffner Pumpkin Destroyers.
Weapons of Choice: Aluminum baseball bat (more solid follow-through than wood – and sadly we’ve tested this theory out over the years), 5 iron, and towel (for catapulting – I believe this was Dad’s contribution).
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