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BECK ROW — Native Americans once used pumpkins for everything from food to medicine and even dried them into strips that were woven into mats.

Today, pumpkins still make a mighty fine pie, but are best known for their decorative value around Halloween. The fact that 80 percent of pumpkins ripen in October certainly helps.

And with only a few weeks remaining until children scour the neighborhoods in search of treats and possibly a few tricks, it’s a perfect time to stop by the local pumpkin patch to load up on the seasonal favorite.

Conveniently located on Undley Road running between the villages of Beck Row and Lakenheath, the local pumpkin patch is an afternoon out sure to make the youngsters’ faces glow like jack- o-lanterns.

If you’re not confident to follow those directions, just look for signs fashioned like pumpkins that line the roads around RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall. They will lead you straight to the Anthony Pooley Farm, where the patch and the maize maze are open during the final two weekends of October.

There you’ll find pumpkins separated by size, and therefore price. Also available are pumpkins especially bred for pumpkin pie, or to glow in the dark or to be preserved as a decoration.

That’s right, there are white, almost ghostly looking pumpkins that give the appearance of glowing in the dark — perfect for that do-it-yourself haunted house.

The pumpkin for pie is actually a dirty-looking gray that does not induce the thought of another slice. The decorative pumpkin is loaded with twisted, but colorful knots and bumps.

If you want to go for the all-out Halloween look, there are cornstalks to run five for a pound ($2) as well as bales of hay that cost 3 pounds ($6).

A bale of hay here, a few cornstalks there, some fat-daddy pumpkins carved into frightful jack-o-lanterns and a glow-in-the-dark pumpkin to top it off are sure to convert even the most homogenous on-base residence into the envy of the neighborhood when the kiddies come calling for candy.

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