When one hears the words “Pumpkin Shine On Line,” they may think it’s a place on the internet to show off shiny gourds. Folks in my parts will know that it’s referring to an annual event, that happens the week before Halloween, on Line Avenue in Shreveport, Louisiana. One of the biggest and oldest parks in town, Betty Virginia Park, plays host to this fun family event, with a local private school facilitating the planning and festivities.
Students from schools in our parish (which would be a county in any other state) paint, carve and decorate their own pumpkins. They enter them into the contest, free of charge, along with any other person who would like to try their hand at decorating. Beginning at about five in the evening, hundreds of pumpkins line the half-mile trail that winds around the park. Families come in droves to marvel at the work that kiddos and artistic Halloween lovers create for this event, which is free to attend. Judges walk around and pin ribbons to the pumpkins that they think are the best designs. In my opinion, the best pumpkins are the ones that were obviously created by a child, with little help from an adult. There is always entertainment, like school choirs or dance teams, performing for the crowd. You could buy some pizza or candy to munch on, for a pretty reasonable price. Most of the time, kids just want to have fun on the playground, and it’s hard for parents to get them to come off the slides and swings to head home for bedtime.
My kids have been attending the Pumpkin Shine for years. It has grown so big that this year, we could hardly keep up with all of our family because of the crowds. My oldest son, Michael, wasn’t as interested as he used to be. He spent more time playing with his toddler baby cousins, which I don’t think anyone had any complaints about; he helped to keep an eye on them and make them smile. Sammy, who is eleven, still has a little bit of childhood innocence in him. He ran ahead and checked out all of the pumpkins, including the one he carved for his 6th grade homeroom class. After his quick scan of it all, he ran back to ask me if he could “run around and act stupid.” I took that as meaning that he wanted to find his friends, but since he left his cell phone at home, I told him it was a no-go.
I took lots of pictures of the pumpkins this year. The popular theme every year is always children’s books, especially the entries from elementary schools. The 2011 Pumpkin Shine was dominated by Angry Birds and The Smurfs. I have a slideshow of all of the pictures I took, and it’s worth looking at to see how interesting and creative some got with their pumpkins. It could even give you some great ideas for your pumpkin carving and decorating this year. You can click on the link below to check out the pictures I took. Does your town have a similar event for Halloween celebrations? Tell us in the comments section, I would love to hear about it!