Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade 2011

centipede pumpkin

centipede pumpkin

I took a time-out from Heavy-Duty Editing Mode to look at a bunch of gourds in my local park, which has been a growing neighbourhood event for some time now. On November 1, people take their Halloween pumpkins and put them on display for all to enjoy for one more night in Sorauren Park. In an animated world, the pumpkins would be mingling and socializing with each other, maybe talk about porches and candle wax and the post-Halloween blues.

This is my third year of the pumpkin parade, and every year I tweak my strategy a little bit for taking photos… because you need a strategy when there are over a thousand pumpkins side-by-side and hundreds of people, all trying to do the same thing as you are. This year my main strategy was to go late and skip the crowds. It’s near impossible to take photos in a crush of people and the pumpkins are mostly on the ground, which requires taking up more space as you crouch or kneel.

shooting the shooter

shooting the shooter

Sorauren Park is to the east of Roncesvalles Village, anchored by commercial activity along Roncesvalles Avenue. Here at the park, there are neighbours bumping into each other all the time, which gives the pumpkin parade a block party feel. That plus the dogs and kids running around.

This year was the most interactive for me. The last couple of years friends joined me for part of it, but this time I went solo and chatted with more people. Previously, strangers were curious but nobody actually asked me why I was using extra flashes, but this year a lady did, and I explained to her the advantage of backlighting. I also bumped into the cafe owner I mentioned yesterday, and someone came up to me and said he recognized me from this blog when he searched online for “Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade”, which I thought was pretty funny. If he does another search he’ll find this post mentioning him recognizing me through this blog, which is even funnier… (to me, anyway).

lobster pumpkins?

lobster pumpkins?

Every year there are scene-stealers, and last year it was the massacre scene and the alligator pumpkin — which was really a bunch of pumpkins rather than one. This year the massacre was back, minus the alligator, but with the centipede-like creature in the top photo that looked like it was out for blood, and this giant lobster creature.

Some of my other favourites include this one — I thought the mice were a nice touch:

pumpkin mouse house

pumpkin mouse house

There’s definitely a fashion to pumpkin art; every year reflects current events and icons and this year was no different. There was a Jack Layton pumpkin, I noticed a few Lady Gaga pumpkins, and someone had the bright idea to carve all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Of course, being from Winnipeg, I spotted the Winnipeg Jets pumpkin right away (I even collected the team’s hockey cards when I was a kid; this was back in the early ’80s!):

Hooray for Winnipeg!

Hooray for Winnipeg!

What would a pumpkin parade in Toronto be without some Rob Ford pumpkins? Here’s a rather pointed message carved into a pumpkin:

not a Rob Ford fan

not a Rob Ford fan

And thus concludes another year of the neighbourhood pumpkin patch. Pumpkin numbers appeared to be down from last year (which was up from the year before), but I don’t know why. It was much colder last year, so you would think the warmer temps this year would draw more pumpkins, but it seemed to be fewer pumpkins but more spectators. I shouldn’t talk, though, my pumpkin from the corn maze engagement shoot is still sitting in my car, uncarved (and uneaten)!

In case you’re wondering whether it’s only the raccoons who benefit from a parkful of hacked pumpkins and the nearest houses get rotting stench, there’s an arrangement with the City to compost all this vegetable matter the following morning.

Photos from the previous two years:

Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade 2010
Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade 2009

This year’s display is best viewed as a full-screen slideshow, or thumbnails, or autoplayed in the slideshow below: