Pumpkins invade Ivy Hall Nursing Home

Some pumpkins sit on a windowsill, a pumpkin lays on a bench spending time with his scarecrow friend. Another few pumpkins perch on fence posts surrounding the nursing home. A whole group of them reside on the front steps of the building. Hundreds of pumpkins, and every one of them showcases the soul of the person who decorated it.

Chelcie Ricker, an employee at Ivy Hall Nursing Home, says this will be their fourth year decorating pumpkins for display.

“They started as just normal decorations,” Ricker said. “We kept doing more and more, and so now they have become a tradition.”

Ricker said there is no standard list of rules or anything similar as to how to decorate the pumpkins, describing the process as a “free-for-all.”

Pumpkin decorations included a hand-carved one of a realistic face, a plastic pumpkin painted white and made to look like BB-8 from Star Wars and an older woman with glasses in a bathtub.

“The employee involvement is huge,” Ricker said. “Schools, businesses and staff all participate.”

The pumpkins line the entire perimeter of the various buildings of the nursing home, perched on windowsills and sitting on benches with the scarecrows.

She said they will continue to receive pumpkins until Halloween this week. Eventually, they plan to line the entire street they reside on with their decorations.

Ricker said they spent the entire month of October decorating and setting up pumpkins, and they make sure as many residents participate as possible.

“We sometimes do jumping jacks to do so,” she said.

The decorations do not stop at the door, however. General fall decorations line the halls of the nursing home. At one of the receptionist areas is a large pine tree with Halloween decorations on it.

“This tree is always decorated,” Ricker said. “It does not matter the holiday: Christmas, Halloween, Father’s Day. We always decorate it with something.”

She said the decorations gain a lot of attention from passersby.

“We have one family who walks by here every day to take their kids to school,” Ricker said. “They always stop to look at the pumpkins.”

Ricker said she enjoys watching the residents decorate their pumpkins over the course of the month.

“I like seeing the residents happy and enjoying themselves,” she said. “They used to do this all the time. They would set up decorations in their house every year.”

Ricker said she hopes to show people the positive things about the nursing home.

“The nursing home is a blessing,” Ricker said. “I could not ask for better people.”

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