The Great Pumpkin Shortage: Stormy Summer Limits Supply In Northeast

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As much as we hate to admit we need pumpkins — NewsFeed answers to no vegetable — this time of year we really do. Unfortunately for those of you in the Northeast, pumpkins might not be so readily available for your Halloweening needs.

Thanks to Tropical Storm Irene and an especially stormy summer, there are severe reported shortages in pumpkin crops across the region as bad weather conditions have led to higher numbers of rotten vegetables. Which means that pumpkin seekers could be paying double for their Jack-o’-lantern canvases in some places and, in others, they could be out of luck entirely.

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What’s a Halloween lover to do? Now just because you didn’t see this shortage coming, doesn’t mean there’s no hope for you. Now that you know, however, your first course of action should be to move quickly. David Dumaresq of Farmer Dave’s told CBS that you should “[b]uy your pumpkins soon for the best availability because there’s not going to be too many around this year.”

If you’re too late, then we’re sorry but you’ve got to move on and search for alternatives because, hey, there’s plenty of other vegetables in the sea.  The Hairpin has collected a list of some viable options of “alternate o’ lanterns” to help get you brainstorming.

And a Consumerist reader suggests switching teams and moving away from vegetables altogether: try turning milk jugs into little ghosts by cutting out the back and sticking a candle inside.

Remember, these are all practical suggestions for coping, but certainly none of them will replace the feelings you got from shopping for pumpkins the week before Halloween. But those days are gone. You just have to remember that, above all else, you can’t let pumpkins know how much they mean to you.

Megan Gibson is a reporter at the London bureau of TIME. Find her on Twitter at @MeganJGibson. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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