As your eyes pass over the line of Pinterest-perfect pumpkins - toothy smiles and hipster owls and even the Golden Gate Bridge carved into squash - you might notice a cluster of pumpkins at the end, pumpkins that aren't like the others. Slightly dim but full of personality. The sort of pumpkins that would pull the station wagon to a screeching, smoky halt by the side of the road because a freshly-killed squirrel was spotted, a squirrel that would do well in a bowl of chili or maybe cured into jerky. Obviously a family. Not the brightest, maybe a little physically impaired, but happy, secure in their tribe.
After an afternoon of mulled wine, lizard staring contests, and scooping pumpkin guts, we loaded our pumpkin family into the back of my car. They rode around for a few days, windows rolled down to disperse the pumpkin smell, until we finally had to decide what to do with them. When I proposed taking one or two home and leaving him with the rest for his apartment building, he looked at me in shock. "We can't split them up! They need each other!"
I collected myself, horrified by my insensitivity. Of course they need to stick together. They would be lonely. No one else would understand them. The round little mother would be devastated without her crooked-grinned husband. The adopted sibling, a bug-eyed genius who needs to carve carrots into perfect replicas of Bic pens before eating them, wouldn't mesh well with normal society. The cyclops would smash into walls and knock over tables without her buck-toothed brother to lead her around random bits of furniture. (Her peripheral vision isn't all that great.)
So we scoured the streets until we found a good spot under a tree near Dolores Park. As we tucked our pumpkin family into their new home, a herd of schoolchildren passed, yelling out Happy Halloween!s and complimenting our jack-o-lanterns.
They had found their place, and they were happy.