Sheltered Islander: Shelter Island Pumpkin Pilfering 101

Pumpkins ripe for the pickin'
Pumpkins ripe for the pickin', Photo: iStock/Thinkstock

Halloween is a wonderful time on Shelter Island. There’s a costume parade through all 50 feet of downtown. There are a few designated streets children safely visit before dark—the town contributes candy to the residents there so they are not overwhelmed.

There is one individual, whose name I do not know, who fills the steps of his (or her) porch with fantastic carved pumpkins that are works of art. It looks like they use a laser to carve them. Every car slows down to look at them. They carve a wide variety of subjects from simple cats on a fence to the Sistine Chapel. He or she is the Michelangelo of the Melon, the Prince of the Pumpkin.

Every year I try to carve an artsy pumpkin like that. But I have no talent. All of my pumpkins have looked the same since sixth grade. They have uneven triangle eyes, off-center grins and poor attempts at carving teeth. The only way to improve my pumpkin is to run it over with a truck and call it an abstract pumpkin. Just once in my life, I’d like to display a beautifully carved pumpkin. If only there was a way…

“Judy, it’s Sally. Listen, remember when we were talking about stealing some of those terrific pumpkins?”

“We were joking, weren’t we?”

“At first yes, but I’ve been thinking. They usually put out a dozen of those fantastic pumpkins. What if we just switched a few with our pumpkins?”

“You mean ones that we carved? That’s like switching a beat-up Volkswagen for a Mercedes. I think they might notice…”

“Sure, eventually. But Judy, those pumpkins would be on our porches by then and they don’t know who we are or where we live. We’ll say we bought them off Island.”

“Yeah. We can wear black and make the switch tonight.”

“Let’s do it. Just one for each of us. I’ll meet you at 10 p.m. at their house.”

“How will I know it’s you, Sally?”

“I’ll be the only other person there who’s wearing black and looking to steal a pumpkin.”

(10 p.m. that night…)

“Psst, Judy. Over here. I’m in the azaleas.”

“Oh, this is a good spot. Did you pick out the pumpkin you want?”

“Yes, the Monet’s Water Lilies in Pumpkin.”

“Aw, that’s the one I wanted. I’ll just take the one with the New York skyline…what was that?”

“Oh God, Judy, it’s Debbie. She just took my Monet pumpkin and left a crappy one in its place. Damn her! That was MY pumpkin!”

“Wait, somebody’s with her. Oh no, she got the skyline pumpkin. We should go tell the owner his pumpkins are being pinched!”

“Judy, no, we’re here to pinch pumpkins too.”

“Right. We’d better move fast before anyone else shows up. I’ll take the Ballerina by Degas.”

“Okay, I’ll take the one with the carving of the Statue of Liberty. Let’s be quick.”

(Three days later)

“Sally, I feel so bad about my stolen pumpkin, but I love it too much to give it back.”

“The pumpkin I stole disappeared from my porch! My Statue of Liberty was liberated!”

“You’re sure it was the Statue of Liberty?”

“Judy, I know which pumpkin I stole.”

“Sally, I saw that pumpkin on the man’s porch last night. You don’t suppose he carved a second pumpkin, do you?”

“He pinched my pinched pumpkin! Now he knows where I live! The cops will be here any minute! It’ll be a felony gourd charge! Judy, please tell my children I love them…”

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