TORONTO – Canada’s National Pumpkin Association (NPA) is lobbying the federal government for a cancellation of Halloween, for the fourth year in a row. Halloween, it says, is an especially injurious and cruel time for the Cucurbita pepo, and below its dignity. The NPA, now in its second decade, has been highly outspoken in its support and protection of the much beleaguered and put-upon vegetable.
“The exploitation and abuse gets worse right around this time every year,” said the NPA’s Executive Director, James Singerson, from its Cabbagetown headquarters. “It used to be limited to just the odd pumpkin pie and the seasonal run on jack-o’-lanterns and such. Now they’re raising them in small crowded patches for frivolous things like pumpkin juice, pumpkin donuts and pumpkin spice lattes. Ugh! Where does it stop?”
Cancelling Halloween, Singerson said, would go a long way toward providing a safer and more stable and loving environment for pumpkins again. “Ultimately we want to stop the nasty business of chunking, and getting them out from under the seasonal carver’s knife is a good first step.”
The NPA is the Canadian offshoot of the IPA (the International Pumpkin Association, not the beer) and its mandate extends to winter squash in general but not to giant pumpkins, which belong to the family Cucurbita maxima.
“They’re a very specialized cultivar, so they have their own association,” said Singerson.
He explained that when it came to chunking, which covers tossing the pumpkins willy-nilly using catapults and other throwing devices, giant pumpkins were usually well protected, just because of their prodigious size.
“You need some serious equipment to toy around with those big suckers and that takes mucho bucks so it doesn’t happen all that often. We can’t be everywhere so we concentrate on protecting common garden variety pumpkins because they are the most vulnerable at this time of year.”
Singerson also wants to see the Cucurbita pepo being accorded more respect in literature and film.
“I mean all we ever see in books and movies these days are scenes associating them with witches and hobgoblins and in other demeaning roles. Look at the Harry Potter thing with the pumpkin juice; just debasing. Well, we’re here to remind people that pumpkins have feeling too,” he said. Source: FNT Staff