To many of us, October means one thing: Halloween. It’s time to break out the costumes, hang the decorations, and buy the candy. Is there anything better than Halloween?
But to many others, October represents something else entirely: Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Unfortunately, according to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, 1 in 8 women (or about 13%) will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. That means a lot of women – and a lot of families – are deeply affected by breast cancer, and so for them, October is incredibly impactful.
And since Halloween falls in the same month as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, these two events have converged in the form of a pink pumpkin.
So what do pink pumpkins on Halloween mean?
Pink pumpkins represent breast cancer awareness.
Here’s your handy guide to pink pumpkins on Halloween in the form of 7 frequently asked questions and answers.
1. Where do pink pumpkins come from?
If you want a pink pumpkin, there are three main ways to get one:
- First, you can paint a pumpkin pink.
- Second, you can buy a pink pumpkin.
- Third, you can grow a pink pumpkin.
Painting or purchasing a pink pumpkin probably isn’t a surprise, but growing a pink pumpkin? Aren’t all pumpkins naturally orange?
No, not all pumpkins are naturally orange. Pale pink pumpkins can actually be grown!
The Porcelain Doll Pumpkin is a hybrid pumpkin easily identified by its pale pink rind. And because the pumpkin was specifically grown to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this pale pink pumpkin has a direct and personal link to breast cancer awareness.
2. What can pink pumpkins be used for?
Porcelain Doll Pumpkins can be used in cooking and/or decorating. Just like traditional orange pumpkins, they are edible. And, in fact, so are the seeds, which can be roasted, salted, and enjoyed.
Pink pumpkins for Halloween have been growing in popularity year after year as awareness builds.
How wonderful to have a pumpkin that can be used to honor a cause and enjoyed as a decoration or edible treat.
3. How long have pink pumpkins been around?
DP Seeds, a respected seed supplier in Arizona, spent several years perfecting the pink hybrid pumpkin we now know as the Porcelain Doll pumpkin. They perfected this pumpkin specifically to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month and everyone who has been affected by cancer.
The very first harvest of Porcelain Doll pumpkins happened in 2012. Pumpkin suppliers everywhere were excited about this new development.
According to the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation, at that time, “America’s pumpkin growers have committed to giving a percentage of proceeds from every pink pumpkin sold [in 2012] to organizations involved in breast cancer research.”
Thankfully, many pumpkin growers and organizations around the country have continued this tradition of giving part of their pink pumpkin sales back to fund breast cancer research or help women and families who are facing a difficult cancer diagnosis.
4. What charity owns the rights to pink pumpkins?
Just as no single charity owns the rights to the generic pink ribbon, no charity owns the rights to pink pumpkins.
Pink pumpkins are shared amongst all organizations that advocate for breast cancer awareness. Major charities and smaller non-profits who raise funds for breast cancer research are using pink pumpkins as part of their fundraising initiatives.
The Pink Pumpkin Project, for instance, is a national organization that exists to “Live a Legacy of Faith, HOPE, Love and Compassion for others and to make sure NO ONE fights alone! To provide financial and emotional support to those in our local communities fighting breast cancer.” Each year volunteers for The Pink Pumpkin Project decorate and sell between 800 and 1,200 pink pumpkins, and all of the proceeds support women going through breast cancer treatment who need emotional and/or financial assistance.
Horizons Community Solutions is an example of a community organization that offers uninsured and lower-income women free screenings, mammograms, and ultrasounds. The organization works closely with local hospitals and screening centers to provide women with the help and care that they need. They’ve created the “Pink Your Pumpkin” campaign to remind women to get their mammograms.
Pink pumpkins are for anyone who wants to advocate.
You can buy pink pumpkins in many places since they aren’t directly linked to any one organization.
5. How do pink pumpkins bring awareness to breast cancer?
Since late 1990, the color pink has been associated with breast cancer advocacy. The Susan G. Komen Foundation started handing out bright pink visors to survivors running in their famous Race for the Cure.
And so pink pumpkins naturally bring awareness to breast cancer simply by being pink.
Placing a pink pumpkin on your porch or as part of your home or work environment is a simple way to honor women and families who have experienced or are experiencing breast cancer.
Additionally, it can also encourage women to schedule a mammogram since pink pumpkins are a reminder to women of the reality of breast cancer and the importance of being checked. According to the CDC, women aged 45–49 should schedule annual mammograms. Regular yearly screenings can result in early detection and can save lives.
Sadly, the American Cancer Society recently reported that there were 48,000 fewer mammograms reported in 2020 because of the pandemic. So women need to be reminded to go and get checked as soon as possible.
Since the first harvest of Porcelain Doll Pumpkins in 2012, many women have reported scheduling their mammogram because they were reminded when they saw a pink pumpkin as a Halloween decoration.
It is possible that putting a pink pumpkin on your front porch could help save someone’s life.
6. Are there pink pumpkin events?
Throughout the United States, there are a growing number of pink pumpkin events. One example is pink pumpkin patches popping up with pink pumpkins for sale.
Another example is the Baton Rouge General Hospital, which hosts an annual “Protect Your Pumpkins” pop-up pink pumpkin patch. The patch is open to the public, and all visitors are invited to take home a free pink pumpkin and display it in honor of someone with breast cancer.
Baton Rouge General Hospital President and CEO Edgardo Tenreiro recently said, “We are excited to bring back the pumpkin patches this year, as it is such an effective way to kick off our Protect Your Pumpkins campaign, engage with the community and have important conversations about breast cancer.”
And these important conversations are saving lives.
7. Where can I find a pink pumpkin?
In addition to buying pink pumpkins and supporting local or national non-profits, you can also grow your own!
It’s possible to get Porcelain Doll F1 and Porcelain Princess F1 Pink Pumpkin seeds. Several reputable pink pumpkin growers now sell porcelain pumpkin seeds that allow you to grow your own pink pumpkins for Halloween.
Otherwise, you can check with your local pumpkin patch or market that sells fresh pumpkins to see if they have pink pumpkins available. As time passes, we can expect to see even more pink pumpkins available as part of the October seasonal sales.
Pink pumpkins are a good, quick way to add more meaning to your Halloween display. Show your love of the season as well as your support for women here and around the world who are facing a difficult breast cancer diagnosis. Let’s stand together this October!