Pumpkin People Take Over Kate Gould Park This Weekend

By: Cape Cod Chronicle

One of last year's Pumpkin People In The Park displays. This year's exhibit will go up Friday. FILE PHOTO

CHATHAM – With Sharks in the Park now history, it's time for the Pumpkin People to take their place in Kate Gould Park.

Tomorrow – which just happens to be Friday the 13th – local businesses and organizations will begin setting up the annual display of pumpkin-headed scarecrows, scary Halloween scenes and scenarios that defy description. The display will remain up through Halloween, and right in the middle the park will also host the town's annual Oktoberfest celebration.

It's all sponsored by the Chatham Merchants Association and is now in its sixth year.

“I think it's a great local event,” said Jenn Allard, who coordinates the event for the Merchants Association. “It definitely brings the community together.”

Businesses, civic organizations, nonprofits and sometimes individuals create the displays, using creativity and ingenuity to riff on the traditional Halloween pumpkin display, often reflecting the theme of the sponsor, a local political issue or something completely off-the-rails and whimsical.

“It really lets people's creativity come out,” Allard said of the event, which, like the merchants-sponsored Sharks in the Park, gives free rein to creators' imaginations. “People look forward to it. It's a little bit different every year. It's always interesting to see where businesses go with it.”

This year she anticipates 25 to 30 Pumpkin People displays, similar to previous years.

“We've got some new businesses involved, which is great,” she said, adding that there is “still room for a few more.”

The Oktoberfest event on Oct. 21 draws people to the park to view the Pumpkin People and participate in various activities. There's also music by the Chatham Band, and like last year there will be a costume parade around the bandstand around 11:45 a.m., Allard said. “That was really successful and a lot of fun,” she said.

Other activities include cornhole and other kids' games, a stein-holding contest, and Oktoberfest-themed food and drink in the parking lot on the park's east side. Watch for a full schedule in next week's paper.

While other towns have fall festivals, none are quite like Chatham's Pumpkin People, Allard said.

“I think it sets Chatham apart a little bit from the other towns on the Cape.”