Ivy Hall pumpkins have become a fall tradition

Published 12:21 pm Thursday, October 26, 2023

There’s a saying about jack-o-lanterns: “Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.”

And, it’s also true that few know the joy that jack-o-lanterns bring not only to youngsters, but to people of all ages.

It wouldn’t be Halloween without jack-o-lanterns and decorated pumpkins, which for the 15th year welcome visitors to Ivy Hall Nursing Home and bring a smile to the faces of the residents. In fact, it wouldn’t be Halloween without jack-o-lanterns and decorated pumpkins. The iconic pumpkin decoration is the beacon that signifies that the spookiest time of the year is upon us.

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This year, over 100 students at West Side Elementary School painted and decorated pumpkins for the Ivy Hall collection. And, most of them weren’t spooky…they were pleasing to look at. Pumpkins were painted and decorated to resemble different characters – Spiderman, a hamburger, a pumpkin face with a wrapper from a chicken noodle soup can and hair to resemble noodles, a pig and cow pumpkins, ghostly looking gourds, miniature cupcake pumpkins, and bunches of other characters. Mixed among the pumpkins are some neat-looking scarecrows.

The pumpkins decorate the front steps and are placed around the side of the building.

Jill Burrow, Dietary Director at Ivy Hall, said some of the residents also decorated pumpkins for the display as did employees and friends in the community. “It’s a tradition that brings a lot of enjoyment to the residents as well as smiles to their faces,” Burrow said.

“I’m amazed at the creativity of the West Side students. It’s a good way for the students to give back to the community and to people, who need a reason to smile. Yesterday, I took Helen Weese, a resident, out to view the pumpkins. And, what a big smile the pumpkins brought to her face,” said Burrow.

Burrow likened the pumpkin display to a miniature art show. “It’s also a big morale booster to our residents and staff, alike,” she shared.

She also gave a lot of credit to Tim Andrews, Activity Director, Tiffany Taylor, staff member, and Leslie Taylor for their help with the annual display. “They do a lot of work to this event happen,” she said.

Just remember when you view the pumpkins there is a parable of the jack-o-lantern. The most popular version of the tale involves Jack first tricking the Devil into changing his form, then trapping him in his transfigured state. Jack then offered the Devil out of the deal in exchange for not taking his soul for a long time.

Then, there is the Bibical parable lesson of the pumpkin. II Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” The lesson: We created a new pumpkin by cleaning out the yucky insides and carving a happy face. This is a new creation, a jack-o-lantern, with a joy-filled face. Jesus does that with us.