Who has two thumbs and is the caboose on the pumpkin train? This girl. I’m way behind on this one, so stop reading and go to any strip mall parking lot that had a pumpkin patch. Chances are good that they’ll be free today and possibly tomorrow, so go forth and acquire a few smaller  ones, one big one, however you want to swing it in relation to your love for the taste of pumpkin.

A word of caution to the zealous pumpkin-picker: Johnny Law might try to stop you, so make sure there’s a sign that says “free”. This happened to my sister and I many years ago while were were filling my minivan with free pumpkins. Being 18 and 16, our parents naturally got a phone call.  I can’t recall what my sister dressed as, but my uniform at the time was that of a late 90’s era goth/hooker hybrid and topped off with a nun habit for the occasion. Outfits aside, our parents were horrified to hear about both of their daughters in trouble. I’ll never know how they recall it or what they thought; I called mom today to see if she had seen any “free pumpkins” signs in parking lots today and brought up the incident… she audibly closed her eyes, slowed her speech, and said “yes. I remember it” and left it at that. I guess the lessons leaned here are that a) “free” signs are best acted upon before 2am,  b) minivans are deceptively roomy,  c)your tax dollars keep suburban parking lots safe from hoodlums like me.

So go grab a few pumpkins before the sun goes down. They keep for awhile, make neat fall decor, and you’ll have tasty recipes coming in for the next couple of days.

It’s one of those precious and rare occasions where you can legally get fresh food for free. Make the most of it.