We had promised the kids we’d take them to a local pumpkin- painting, pizza- eating fun night planned on the base. We were determined to get there on time (something we don’t always seem to manage) because the first 100 kids in line got a free pumpkin to paint. When we drove up, we knew we were in trouble, the parking lot was almost full at 5:28 and by the time we rounded the corner into the auditorium we knew: there would be no pumpkin- painting and pizza- eating there for us that night. The tables were swarming with children twirling their pumpkins and parents feasting on pizza. And nary a pumpkin left. Much less for all of our kiddos. So we decided to make the best of it, in fact, we were determined to have more fun had our plans not changed. Colleen and her kids, Jane and Addie, came with us to a local Mexican restaurant and the food was fantastic. Probably even better than cold Papa J*hn’s cheese pizza. We were so stuffed when we left there, we all had take home boxes in hand. Then we walked to the grocery store to pick out our pumpkins. The girls had the best time choosing, they would have been content to discuss the attributes and flaws of every pumpkin in that joint, so Colleen and I made the final decisions and three adorable pumpkins made their way home with us. The pumpkin cleaning ensued, led by Colleen and the kids. I toasted the pumpkin seeds and then we carved the pumpkin faces the kids had drawn out. They were so excited when we lit the pumpkins up… definitely more fun than slapping some mixed- up paint on a free pumpkin and dragging it home trying not to get paint on everything. Definitely.