Pumpkins • Quilt No. 258
47″ wide by 57″ high
My first memory of a Halloween party was the time my brothers and sisters, parents and I all lived in an old home out in Sudbury, Massachusetts. It was rented to us by Longfellow’s granddaughter, who was looking for a nice grad student and his family (my father was in the MBA program at Harvard) to rent it and take care of it, which meant mowing the acre of lawn in the summer. Out back of this old home was an attached shed with a hidden bunkbed, a giant hearth and a large wooden room. We invited our friends, Mother made us costumes, and we had all the traditional things: bobbing of apples, games and carving pumpkins. I was dressed up as a little girl from Holland, and my mother sewed my paper hat on the sewing machine. I was probably this because one of my other older sisters had been this, and I was the youngest girl, so got all the hand-me-downs. But it was a new hat.
I remember some other costumes I’ve sewed: Pirate Roberts for a young teenage son, a giant Hersey Kiss for the daughter, and somewhere along the long linking of Halloween traditions, I’ve sewn (or been): Pippi Longstocking, a Roma (we called them gypsies then), a vampire complete with fake fang teeth and fake blood, Peter Pan, Elsa (from Frozen), a teen from the 1950s (poodle skirt, included), babies, baseball players and an Egyptian princess.
But now, I sew quilts. While this one is well into the 250s on my index — as I don’t count the quilts until they are quilted (with some rare exceptions) — but it’s only about the fourth or fifth Halloween/fall/autumn quilt I’ve made. I did a #pumpkinquilt search the other night on Instagram and this pattern, from Laundry Basket Quilts, was rarely seen, as the chunkier, pieced pumpkins seem to be more the rage.
We looked for pumpkin patches to photograph this in, but they are miles away. So this yellow patch of wisteria leaves is the best I can do from my backyard, the first few leaves scattered on our back patio.
The back is from my stash. The label tells the origin.
I didn’t carve this, but am doing a giant project of moving old stuff from my computer, trying to clean up excess files, and found this cool fella’. I don’t really carve pumpkins anymore, and while I do have up my Halloween quilt banner, this year has been more subdued than in recent years. I usually try to escape handing out candy by going somewhere, but this year my husband bought some, wanting to participate in the tradition. Our neighborhood used to have close to 300 trick-or-treaters, but last year we could only rustle up about thirty. Obviously we are not the only ones getting older around here.
I still love Halloween, the idea that we mark the passing of autumn and acknowledge the advent of winter. It’s a holiday of treats and hopefully few tricks, and lots and lots of pumpkins.