EDMOND — Whether it's for a jack-o'-lantern, yard decoration or a tasty pie, the search for the perfect pumpkin is in progress.
"At the beginning of the season come the decorators. They get all the pretty pumpkins and gourds for decorating the yard. At the end of the season, about Oct. 20, we'll have nothing on this lot but the jack-o'-lanterns for the carvers," Melissa Shelden said. Her family has operated Shelden's Pumpkin Corner for 25 years at the same lot located at Fifth Street and Broadway.
Her biggest problem so far this year is keeping enough pumpkins on the lot.
"We buy by the truckload and get 48 bins at a time," she said. "We got a truckload on Sept. 15 and were wiped out within a week and a half. We couldn't get our shipments fast enough."
Shelden said there is something about the bright orange color of pumpkins that seems to put people in a pleasant mood.
"It just makes everybody happy. In such hard times people need a happy time. I had a customer come by who said 'when I drive by here I feel such joy,'" Shelden said.
Keeping enough pumpkins on the lot also has been a welcome problem for the annual pumpkin patch sponsored by the Southern Hills Christian Church located at 3207 S Boulevard.
"We received a truckload, about 46,000 pounds on Sept. 19 and another truckload on Oct. 10," said Amzi Gregory, the pumpkin patch's treasurer. "We will have as many as four trucks come through and provide us our pumpkins."
For 15 years the church has sold pumpkins grown on the Navajo Reservation in Farmington, N.M., to support Habitat for Humanity, Central Christian Camp and the church's children and youth programs.
"Three years ago we went over $30,000 for the first time ever," Gregory said. "Last year we had about $37,500 in sales. We don't mind being called the 'Pumpkin Church' because we're doing it for the right reason and that's why that happens."
In addition to the thousands of pounds of pumpkins for sale, local pumpkin patches offer fun, family activities.
Paula Parkhurst with the Parkhurst Pumpkin Patch in Arcadia said she especially loves this time of the year.
"I was born on the first day of fall, I have red hair and I love pumpkins," she said. "But my main reason is to get children in touch with the soil and growing things."
Her family grows pumpkins on their farm and visitors are allowed to pick their own.
There are a lot of activities at the Parkhurst Pumpkin Patch, including a hay bale fort, a cornfield maze, hay rides, a petting zoo and a freaky forest that will open Oct. 22. Parkhurst warns this attraction is not for the faint of heart.
"We like to overcome our fears so we test ourselves at Halloween every year," she said. "We try to make grown men grovel."
The Parkhurst Pumpkin Patch is in its seventh year of operation.
Even the Edmond Parks and Recreation department briefly will get into the pumpkin business. The department is sponsoring the Pumpkin Chunkin' at 2 p.m. Oct. 31 to help dispose of leftover pumpkins. Residents can bring their carved jack-o'-lanterns to chunk into a field with a provided catapult or build one of their own.
For more information, go to http://edmondok.com.