Pumpkin Day in McCarren Park
by Andrew Shilling
Oct 16, 2013 | 2400 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marianne and Rob Thomas with their family at the urban pumpkin patch.
Marianne and Rob Thomas with their family at the urban pumpkin patch.
When Susan Anderson took her family on a two-hour drive upstate for pumpkin picking seven years ago, she decided that her neighbors should never have to take the same trip to enjoy the fruits of the holiday season.

Anderson, the chairperson of the local volunteer-based community group Town Square, started Pumpkin Day in McCarren Park in 2007 with just 30 pumpkins.

This year, the group created an urban pumpkin patch in the park with nearly 1,000 pumpkins trucked in from a farm in upstate New York. For kids and their families, it has since become a place to pick and decorate their own pumpkins and come together for a little family bonding.

“They get to pick a pumpkin of their own choice and leave with a trick-or-treat bag with decorative arts-and-crafts activities,” Anderson said.

The event was supported by Greenpoint’s American Deli and Franklin Pizza, which provided food, and First Unitarian Universalist congregation's Original Blessings and Close Encounters, a group aimed at bringing local music and artists together for community events.

M.S. 126 also helped out with the face painting, while Cub Scout Pack 7 provided manpower. Proceeds from Pumpkin Day support Town Square and Cub Scout Pack 7.

“We’re big on partnerships,” Anderson said. “As we build our programming, we love it that we can have more partners.”

Eunice Cuevas is with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and came to Pumpkin Day with her recently matched eight-year-old sister Guadalupe.

“Fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year, and I think it’s a fun time for the kids,” Cuevas said, while Guadalupe painted a pumpkin at the decoration table. “I thought it would be fun for her to pick a pumpkin and do some arts and crafts.”

Marianne Thomas and her family picked out a pumpkin in the urban pumpkin patch to take home and decorate for Halloween.

“What a great vibe,” she said. “This, for us, is Brooklyn; great neighbors coming together, older and younger people and lots of families.”

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