We've picked from a patch of pumpkin-themed food, drink and seasonal events that arrived in our inbox recently, just in time for October in advance of Halloween.
You have to admit, pumpkins are a happy-looking squash, even if they're not carved or painted. Orange is everybody's color: pretty much anyone can pull off wearing it, and it fits right in with the hues of fallen leaves, haystacks, scarecrows and bonfires. When cooked, pumpkin smells delicious. And it tastes even better when you add sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, flour, milk and eggs to it.
Growing really big pumpkins is a feat that combines farming with engineering. The largest specimens end up looking more like Jabba the Hut than a jolly round Halloween pumpkin, although often they're carved into fantastical designs.
In 2021, the heaviest pumpkin measured at the Topsfield Fair weighed in at 2,092 pounds — more than a ton! Grown by Alex Noel of Abington, Connecticut, it was a bit lighter than the 2,294.5-pounder he grew in 2019.
This year's Topsfield Fair takes place at the 207 Boston St. fairgrounds through Oct. 10. The pumpkin weigh-in takes place from 4-10 p.m. Friday but you can still view the pumpkins throughout the fair. More information is at https://www.topsfieldfair.org/.
Here are few other pumpkin-related fun things coming up:
Eliot Church Jack-o'-lantern Contest
On Oct. 30, this annual community event in Natick lines Route 16 in both directions with jack- o'-lanterns glows as the sun sets.
How to enter: Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know you're coming, and mark if you’re 15 or younger (There's a separate prize category for kids). Carve your masterpiece jack-o'-lantern. Write your name and email on your pumpkin in permanent ink. Include a candle. Drop off your jack-o'-lantern by the ramp leading to the side door at The Eliot Church, 45 Eliot St., before 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 30. Park in front of the library, or behind the office buildings (No parking by the church after 4). Jack-o'-lanterns will be on display until 6:30, with pick up and awards right after that. Then, take your jack-o'-lantern home for Halloween!
Pumpkin spiced old-fashioned doughnuts
Who can resist a buttermillk old-fashioned doughnut, tossed in your favorite fall-flavored spiced sugar?
At The Donut Stand inside the Vin Bin in Southborough, they have maple sugar glazed doughnuts that are to die for, with an Ackerman's Wood Fire Vermont maple sugar glaze and maple syrup from New Hampshire. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9 a.m.-noon Saturday and Sunday. 154 Turnpike Road (Route 9), Southborough. 508-485-8884
Pumpkin decorating contest
In Hopedale, the Bancroft Memorial Library is hosting its first pumpkin decorating contest.
Decorate a faux/foam pumpkin at home (no real pumpkins please — they don’t keep well inside) and drop it off at the library on 50 Hopedale St. in Hopedale beginning Oct. 11. Vote with a non-perishable food item for your favorite pumpkin from Oct. 12-26. The entry with the most votes wins a prize, so vote early and often.
All food items will be donated to The Daily Bread Food Pantry in Milford. The library will have a limited number of pumpkins to give out while supplies last, but feel free to provide your own in whatever size/color/shape you’d like. Good luck and happy decorating!
Don your spookiest costume for the Rotary Club of Southborough's annual Pumpkin Stroll, which takes place 6-8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9.
The club will offer cider, cookies and other treats to make the event festive.
As is tradition, the event takes place the night before Southborough’s annual Heritage Day celebration.
Carved or decorated pumpkins should be dropped off from 4-6 p.m. on Oct. 9.
Participants are encouraged to find a place to display their carved gourds on the stone wall surrounding the Old Burial Ground on Common Street and Saint Mark’s Street.
Once again, the Rotary is using the event to collect items for the Southborough Food Pantry. This year, the pantry is asking for contributions of coffee and tea, dish detergent or cooking oil. Drop donations off in the collection box at the Rotary’s table in front of the library’s Main Street entrance.
The community is invited to walk past the lit display of silly, scary, grotesque, creative, and even beautiful carved gourds.
Pumpkin crafts, Boo in the Barnyard
At Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough, children can dress up and then visit with farm animals on Oct. 30, from 1-2 p.m., 2-3 p.m. or 3-4 p.m.
The Trustees of Reservations will have Halloween activities, including pumpkin, ghost and candy corn crafts, mask-making a special take on trick-or-treating. Pumpkin bowling, themed scavenger hunts, and yard games will also be available. Farm stores will be open with even more treats to take home, and costumes are encouraged.
Bring a bag to collect treats from barnyard friends, participate in a special Halloween craft, find the hidden pumpkins on a pumpkin scavenger hunt, and play pumpkin bowling. Snacks and refreshments available.
Cost is $24 per member carload up to five people, $30 per carload for nonmembers. For more information, visit https://thetrustees.org/event/80474/ or call 508-785-0339.
Where pumpkins roll: haunted trail
Among a host of Halloween-related events the Hopkinton Center for the Arts is putting on this year — including a scarecrow contest, scavenger hunt, Trunk or Treat and Monster Mash and a fun run and Wee Wicked Walk — its haunted trail sounds the most awesome and a place there are sure to be pumpkins along the way. From 6:30-10 p.m. on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30, reserve a time slot to take a walk through the spooky experience. Recommended for ages 12 and up. $20 per person.
It's back! Milford Pumpkin Stroll
Mark your calendar for the Milford Pumpkin Stroll on Oct. 29, rain or shine.
To be held inside Creative Community Childcare, 23 Pine St., all are welcome to come in costume for free tick-or-treating and to view many illuminated jack-'o-lanterns.
Pumpkin carvers are asked to drop off their creations between 4:30-5:30 p.m. Families are invited to dress in costume and enjoy trick-or-treating in the building, where local businesses will hand out treats, so bring a bag.
Three $25 gift cards will be awarded for the scariest, funniest and most creative pumpkins.
The entire evening is free. A collection box for local food pantries will be set up for anyone who wishes to make a donation of a non-perishable food item.
Milford’s Pumpkin Stroll is brought to you by Creative Community Childcare and Michael Shain. For more information about Milford’s Pumpkin Stroll, contact Shain at email@example.com.
Brewing up a patch of pumpkins
Visit any place beer is sold and you'll see folks loading their carts with pumpkin beers, ales and ciders. Framingham's Exhibit 'A' has Cake! that's made with "pastry beer with coffee and pumpkin spice coffee cake."
Sounds more like breakfast but we love it. Check out the list of some other good pumpkin beers at https://tinyurl.com/3bd5ruu3 .
It's just a Pumpkin Pie Trifle at OSV
Old Sturbridge Village will host "Phantoms by Firelight" on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting Oct. 7 and continuing throughout the month. It sounds like a great time. But what really caught my eye was something on the list of Halloween-themed treats they'll be serving: pumpkin pie trifle.
Made with layers of pumpkin, pie crust and whipped cream, and topped with ginger molasses crumbs, it sounds decadent and spicy. Downeast hard cider (cider doughnut, pumpkin or original) will also be served, another pumpkin plus.
Phantoms by Firelight will explore the myths and folklore of Halloween at OSV, in a dark and eerie light, enhanced by a troupe of performers that include acrobats, conjurers, fire jugglers and more.
Tickets are $28 for adults, $14 for youths; there are discounts if tickets are ordered online before Oct. 1. Visit https://www.osv.org for more information.
This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: pumpkin spice doughnuts, trifle, contests, crafts and more for fall