October produce pirates should be made to walk plank

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 6, 2005

Bushy-haired comedian Gallagher made his living off making a mess and shouting his

three-word catch phrase: &#8221Sledge-o-matic.“

But produce bashers are no laughing matter.

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Every October, Ironton's darkened streets are filled with Gallagher wanna-bees wrecking havoc on the innocent pumpkins of the city.

In fact, the community has already suffered many casualties this year as gourd guts litter city streets.

Do Ironton police have problems with these Halloween hi-jinks? You betcha.

&#8221I have seen them all over the place, just smashed all over the road,“ Ironton Police Officer Beth Rist says with a chuckle. &#8221We have some ‘pranksters' every Halloween.“

Rist and the rest of the force consider these impromptu games of pumpkin bowling crimes but it often gets put low on the priority list with only two officers on the road at a time.

What may seem like fun and games to some heartless pumpkin haters, is hurtful others. Many families take great care to find the perfect orange, sphere that is just waiting to morph into some crooked-tooth, smiling visage of fall fun.

Some families may spend hours carving their heart and soul into their jack-o-lantern. Imagine the horror they must feel when the walk out on their front porch and see their creation scattered across the sidewalk.

&#8221My granddaughter took a look at our pumpkin and said, ‘I am so sad I could just cry,'“ one resident basically said, though her name will remain anonymous in fear of further produce abuse. &#8221People don't think that it is theft, but it really is.“

Pumpkins are as much a part of Halloween as brightly decorated trees are of Christmas. What makes this holiday so different that vandalism and mayhem rules?

After all, when was the last time you heard of someone smashing Christmas trees or Thanksgiving turkeys?

I guess seeing branches, bark and giblets splatter doesn't have the same appeal as pumpkin innards. Some people just get their cheap thrills any way they can.

Even Gallagher rarely took out his aggression on pumpkins. Maybe we should all start carving watermelons.

Somehow, that just doesn't seem the same. We just need to leave a few &#8221treats“ for those looking to dish out their &#8221tricks.“

Who's laughing now, Gallagher?

Michael Caldwell is the managing editor at The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.