When summer’s gone a change is seen. / The leaves have all turned half-past green.
The air is cool, the nights grow long. / The wind will sing a mournful song.
An autumn moon hangs low and near / and pumpkin people time is near.
With those words, the Lightburns prepare to a fanciful tale that takes as its starting point the Annapolis Valley craze for lining the streets and roads, lawns and parks, with pumpkin headed scarecrow-like mannequins each October.
When the Lightburns moved to the Kentville area in 1997, this annual rite was already well under way as an integral part of the Kentville Harvest Festival. Apparently it’s been growing in scale ever since.
In the Lightburns’ story, which falls somewhere in between Frosty the Snowman and Where the Wild Things Are, the pumpkin heads come to life once each year and actually engage in the campfire sing-a-longs, soccer matches, baseball games and marches that there real life counterparts came be seen posed in all up an down the Valley between early October and Hallowe’en.
The book includes three pages of instructions on how to make a pumpkin person’s body out of cornstalks (another Valley product), how to dress him or her and how to erect them where you want them to stand.
There’s a short history of the festival which, alas, still leaves me wondering when all this began. All I can tell you is that it happened after 1976.
The book is great fun. Too bad Charlie Brown’s Linus never heard about this.