Falling for Halloween

Monday is August 31st.

Guess what that means?

Halloween is only two months away! October 31st heralds the arrival of wee trick-or-treaters and the heady, intoxicating fall air.

I’m ready.

If you’ve been hanging out with me for a while you’ll know that autumn is my favorite time of year. I love growing and decorating with pumpkins, planning or attending costume parties, helping my son “spookify” the front yard and tossing treats into wee little bags on Halloween night.  The changing of the seasons is more of a slow burn in California. The days shorten and the stale summer air finally gives way to the smog-free version I long for. By the calendar, autumn arrives in late September, but it’s not till mid-October that we start to notice the difference.

In the garden, the signs are everywhere.

Lone Pumpkin Turns Orange

The pantyhose trick is keeping teeth-gnashers at bay while nature takes care of the rest.

Pumpkin protected by pantyhose

Pumpkin protected by pantyhose

Did you know that pumpkins turn orange for the same reason leaves do? As the days grow shorter, “the green pigment, necessary for photosynthesis, degrades and the carotenoids are revealed, causing the pumpkin to change color to shades of orange, red and yellow.”¹

Pretty cool, eh?

Pumpkin Shell Survives Composting

It’s true! A few small, late season pumpkins avoided last season’s squash bug onslaught. They were too hard to carve, so I lined them up on the paved wall instead. They remained a point of interest for many months, subject to occasional rearranging by the neighborhood day care kids. It was months before the snails showed up. Then one by one they started to rot. I tossed this one in the compost bin assuming it would also turn to mush.

hollow pumpkin shell

Small pumpkin shell survives the compost pile

When I upended the compost for my sheet mulching project, out rolled the shell. I’ve dusted it off, checked for invading bugs, and brought it indoors. The decorating possibilities are endless and simply looking at it makes me smile.

A (Not so Itsy) Spider Weaves a Wondrous Web

Nothing says Halloween better than a scary-looking spider web.

garden spider web

I’m glad I found this web with my camera and not my face

spider web side view

Spider web in profile

Am I right?

You can buy fake ones at the local Halloween store, or you might get lucky and have one custom-built in the garden.

My hat is off to the photographers of the world that capture beautiful shots of spiders in webs. I could focus on the spider or the web but never both. There is a good chance I’ve offended her, since she took down her web by early afternoon when I wasn’t looking.

Beware.

Halloween is coming soon. I. Can’t. Wait!

¹Source: Children’s Museum Indianapolis