Happy Halloween! It's everyone's favorite gourd-laden holiday, absolutely brimming with pumpkin decor, and one needn't look further than Facebook for proof. Over the years, pumpkins have gone from humble Halloween vegetable mascot to nearly taking over every aspect of autumnal living, starting approximately on September 1st. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that along with the pumpkin spiced lattes and pumpkin pie spice chips (shudder) have come a variety of parenting pumpkin-themed uses on social media. Who could forget this viral photo (originally posted by nurses) from a few years back?
....or this one, from last year?
Having carved a pumpkin this year for the first time in a while, I can tell you that I don't really understand the fetish some people have for these types of crafts. I mean, that baby butternut squash is wearing a Cookie Monster diaper. The pumpkin mama is wearing a sling. And who on God's green earth wants to re-imagine a pair of nipples as brownish, hard-as-wood pumpkin stems? (Kristy, apparently.) I completely understand the fascination and amusement some people have regarding pumpkin-themed everything -- pumpkin tastes good! and it's seasonal so it's special, and what other vegetable out there allows for so many inspired ideas and designs?? -- I do think the craze has officially hit its peak.
There was a time in life when pumpkin patches didn't equate to "pumpkin patch photo shoots," and pumpkin carving didn't equate to "fetus jack 'o lanterns and breastfeeding gourd mamas with pumpkin breasts," and I think those times might have been a bit simpler. More "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," and less "Charlie Brown's face perfectly carved into a pumpkin after using a fancy stencil." Nowadays, everything has Instagram potential, not to mention Facebook 'Like' potential, so people take their pumpkins and Halloween ornamentation prettyyyy seriously. And the group that fact might extend to the most is parents. Somewhere in the intersection of our pumpkin-obsessed society and Pinterest try-hard moms has come a slew of repurposed or reimagined pumpkin concepts specifically designed for social media. Sure, people still carve pumpkins just for fun, just for them (and their neighbors), but the goal for enjoyment now extends far beyond our porches and driveways. Whether parents are using pumpkins to convey a message, or using the popular pumpkin image in a fall craft with their kid(s), Halloween has become a holiday that celebrates gourds more than actual frights, according to Facebook newsfeeds. Let's check out some very orange examples.
1. The Never-Ending Parade Of Pumpkin Butts
Pumpkin butts -- er, "punkin bums" -- have become so ubiquitous on social media, parents will even run a #TBT example if they don't have a new one yet. No matter how many of these orange rear ends I see, I'm always left contemplating the way the shots are set up. The whole point is to get a butt picture, so you're essentially posing your kid with his or her ass facing the camera, surrounded by random foliage. Does anyone else think that's just a bit ridiculous?
When you post a "punkin bum" on Pinterest, your shit needs to be on point. I'm talking about haystacks here. I'm talking about hand-knit pumpkin hats. Do not set up your kid to be a Pinterest failure. He's too young to experience that kind of harsh disappointment. (Also, is anyone else mentally picturing a long line of kids waiting to get their picture taken with their painted butt to the camera, a la the line to see Santa Claus at the mall? I swear, pumpkin patches are SO boring if they don't look like a Restoration Hardware catalog.)
2. Creative Belly Paintings
Pros of this image:
- The belly is well-painted and symmetrical.
- The font choice works.
- Kayla is growing a healthy baby.
Negatives of this image:
- Everything else. The need to sit with a wide stance. The way Kayla's calling this her son's first Halloween despite the fact that he hasn't been born yet. The fact that she posted this on Facebook, probably because she otherwise wouldn't have painted her belly or taken this picture at all. It's cute, but it's scary. If Kayla's intention was to frighten people because it is, after all, Halloween, then I applaud her efforts.
3. Pumpkin Garb For Babies
As I said in my Halloween post last year, why can't we all just agree that humans don't particularly enjoy the sensation of being stuck inside a damp, stringy vegetable? I've seen a few smiling babies in pumpkins, but the vast majority look like they just finished watching all seven movies in the "Saw" franchise. This little baby is even forced to dangle his legs through wet pumpkin holes. That can't be fun. He would probably have a better time hanging out in a shit-filled diaper than in a several-pound gourd -- but hey, what do I know? I don't even have kids yet!
4. Pregnancy Pumpkin Carvings
The following two images are a bit blurry, but worth posting anyway. I'll let the submitter explain: "These two (totally unrelated) couples both posted photos to announce their pregnancies today. Within three minutes of each other. Using the same stork stencil. And the same due date. Did I mention it was within 3 minutes of each other? PS- It's not the most festive of Halloween pumpkins, but I guess a due date pumpkin is rather terrifying to me so I suppose it works."
Okay, that IS kind of funny and weird. But what made this even more bizarre for me personally is that I experienced the same thing as the submitter just two weeks ago. How spooky is that?! I logged into Facebook and noticed that a friend had posted her pregnancy announcement with a cute image of two parent pumpkins sitting beside a cute baby pumpkin -- and then I scrolled down to find that another friend had posted an image with the exact same concept -- two big pumpkins, one baby pumpkin -- along with the same messaging, and announcing the same due date, within minutes of each other. I think this is what getting old in 2014 looks like, and it is rather horrifying indeed.
5. Pumpkin Horror Stories
These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find any good ghost stories on Facebook around Halloween, but if you hold your nose and wait patiently, you're bound to run into at least a few scary pumpkin tales.
What is it with parents mentioning poop -- particularly poop that's the "EXACT" shade of orange as something they're eating -- while also mentioning knives? I don't care if you're cutting up a pumpkin pie donut or cutting up actual poop -- just keep the "slicing" to yourself, thanks. Oh, and if something you saw, did, or ate made you feel nauseous, and it involves human feces, you can go ahead and assume that your friends will be nauseated, too.
Mmmm PUMPKIN MUFFIN THROW-UP. Could anything be mushier? Sweeter? More repulsive? I think not. But you know what? I'm not so sure Kaye should sweat telling this story, because it scared Nathan, and there wasn't any poop slicing. Maybe this is the closest we'll get on social media to telling traditional horror stories on Halloween. Are you afraid of the overwhelming prevalence of "pumpkin" that sweeps the nation for two straight months each year? Does the thought of a pumpkin muffin on October 31st, after you've most surely already consumed at least 10 pumpkin muffins this season, kind of scare the shit out of you? How about cleaning up pumpkin muffin vomit? Yeah, I thought so.
Nice work, Kaye. You've done good work here. Now stop apologizing and start preparing an oversized basket of disgusting gluten-free treats to hand out to the kiddos when they come by trick-or-treating. Truly, there nothing could be scarier than that.