I am not at all competitive when it comes to The Storybook Pumpkin Contest. Not me. No way. Not this girl.

Welp, folks, I almost purposely smashed Brother Bear's face right in. I almost dropped him on his head right in the middle of the school library because I felt like it. The Berenstain family would sue me, no doubt, but I almost did it anyway.

Same goes for Harold Hutchins from Captain Underpants. I would have body slammed that dude if my older son hadn't been carrying him.

The only thing that kept me from drop kicking the two dudes was my two dudes. They were proud of Brother Bear and Harold. After all, they painted their entire faces and heads brown. They came up with the idea to take these guys to school. How could I destroy their friends like that, you know?

They helped in other ways, too, of course. My 5-year-old painted BB's eyes. Welllll, okay, I directed my little dude's hands when we were painting Brother Bear's eyes. He wanted to do it all by himself, but so much had been invested in Brother Bear at that point. The eyes were the finishing touch! We had to do that one together.

If I had let my Kindergartener paint Brother Bear by himself, he would have been solid blue.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm painting Brother Bear bwu."

"Brother Bear is not blue. We have to paint him brown."

"My teacher said we could paint the pumpkin any way we wanted. I am making Brother Bear all bwu."

"He's not blue."

"I want him to be bwu."

Thankfully, the blue wiped off.

The three of us were pretty proud of those pumpkins when they were finally done. I texted all my family the pictures of the pumpkins even.

"Did you just text me the picture of these pumpkins?" my husband asked.


"I am ten feet from the pumpkins."

"I know, but I thought you might want to see the pictures."

"Ten feet."

We were proud.

As we drove up to school this morning, I saw tons of cars everywhere. 

"What's going on here today, boys?"

"I don't know," they both said.

"I know these pumpkins are due today but surely all these cars aren't from people turning in pumpkins."

Still lost in my naïveté, we strutted those pumpkins across the parking lot. I believe I even had Brother Bear's face facing outwards so everyone could get a good look at him. I smiled at people who passed by. I kept asking my sons if they were happy with the pumpkins we made together.

And then I walked into the library.


I couldn't even believe my eyes.

The pumpkins! Those pumpkins! Are those even pumpkins over there? Look at that pumpkin! And that pumpkin! And that one, too! I can't believe that is actually a pumpkin!!!

This is our first October at this school. 

Lesson learned.

The storybook pumpkins were OUT. OF. CONTROL. I would have taken pictures except I left my phone at home by accident and it would have been too painful.

There were iridescent peacock pumpkins.

Silver tin man pumpkins.

Pumpkins stacked two high and painted like a Dalmatian. (That's my neighbor's!)

Pumpkins with ELABORATE wigs.

Pumpkins with perfect faces.







Extremely-over-the-top only because I hadn't thought of it.


This clearly was a joint project between kids and their parents.


(If I had known that they attended Over-The-Top Elementary, I would have made a pumpkin body for each of them coupled with a robotic mouth that read the lines from their books on a continuous loop and showed all those fancy pants parents their pumpkins weren't so impressive after all.)

But, I am not one to compete.

(And they would have robotic blinking eyes.)

You know, it doesn't bother me that ours didn't have glitter.

(And they would wave at kids passing by.)

Hey, this was a project for the kids.

(And they would hand out candy.)

So, I am okay with the fact that ours won't stop people in their tracks.

(And they would heckle the other pumpkins with things like, "WHEN SCHOOL IS OVER, I'M MAKING PUMPKIN PIE OUTTA YOU!" and nice things like that.)

It's a good thing I am not competitive.

(And they would be so large, the ceiling would have to be adjusted.)

It's a good thing I am just participating in this project for the sake of the kids and their development.

(And they would be so dramatic, the media would come out to cover it.)

It's a good thing I don't care that our pumpkins are nice and simple.

(And they would be so beautiful, a museum would ask for it.)

And, most of all, it's a good thing my kids were happy with them.

(I really do mean that part.)