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Pumpkins bring normalcy to Halloween

Pumpkins bring normalcy to Halloween

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MALMO – Not everyone spends $300-plus on pumpkins alone. But for Jeanie Hasenkamp it’s a normal part of her family’s Halloween festivities. 

On Monday, Hasenkamp and a tight group of friends and family began decorating and carving about 100 pumpkins for their annual display that will premiere Friday and Saturday. 

Hasenkamp said they usually begin carving the pumpkins a couple days before in order to finish on time. Depending on the year, she said they will either use pumpkins they grow or go to pumpkin patches and stores to purchase the seasonal squash. 

When Hasenkamp begins the carving process, the group normally invites members and groups from the community like neighbors or local boy scout troops. Due to COVID-19, it will only be a small group of carvers including Hasenkamp’s family. 

While Hasenkamp and her family normally go all out for decorations, COVID-19 will prevent them from participating in all their usual haunts. On a normal Halloween, their home would have a haunted house on their front porch where they would give out cotton candy and hot chocolate for trick-or-treaters to snack on while they explore the estimated 100 pumpkins. But the tight quarters will keep the haunted house from opening because of the pandemic.

“It’s a small porch and usually there can be a lot of people in there at once,” Hasenkamp said. “I thought it’d probably be better.”

When Hasenkamp and her family moved from Weston to her husband Jeremy’s hometown in 2006, they were looking forward to helping Randy Holtorf decorate pumpkins for his own pumpkin display. Unfortunately, Holtorf had stopped the tradition a few years prior.

In 2008, Hasenkamp decided to take up the challenge, but added the family’s flair to it with the haunted house and sweet treats. 

Hasenkamp hopes that despite not having the haunted house and being in the middle of a pandemic, the pumpkins will bring a sense of normalcy on Halloween. 

“Just something normal that usually happens. I think not having the haunted house is enough,” Hasenkamp said. “If it’s outside people can keep their distance [and] wear their masks.”

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