From the Forum – Pumpkin Thieves in Petworth

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Pumpkin Thieves in Petworth

“This morning around 4:45 I heard someone on my porch open my door and try the front door knob. I didnt see anyone and went to bed. Then this morning I noticed my pumpkin was missing from my porch, and my neighbors across the street were missing their Jack-o-lanterns! (mine was uncut as of yet) Did anyone else get their pumpkin stolen this morning? I can’t fathom why, it doesn’t seem to be worth the trouble.”

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23 Comment

  • People have been stealing/vandalizing pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns as long as I can remember. It’s part of Halloween, certainly not exclusive to DC, and not indicative at all of some underlying social problem. It is, essentially, no big deal.

  • Yea…this is “a thing”. Pretty much happens all over the country, from big cities to small rural towns. “Pumpkin Stealing” was well known in my little hometown growing up.

  • I actually find it weird that pumpkin stealing and smashing isn’t a thing in DC. In the 15 years I’ve been here I’ve never had a pumpkin stolen. Where I grew up no one put their jack-o-lantern out before Halloween night because they were always stolen and smashed almost immediately. My first Halloween in DC I actually asked my neighbors why’d they waste money on a pumpkin when it was just going to get smashed. She looked at me like I was crazy, “why’d someone smash a pumpkin?”

    • Allison

      We stopped buying real pumpkins for Jackolanterns because they’d just get eaten by the deer. Nothing like waking up to a big bite taken out of Jack’s face.

      • I made an awesome jack-o-lantern one year with an evil toothy grin, and squirrels ate some of its teeth, so it looked like a meth-o-lantern. 🙁
        But yeah, stealing anything that isn’t nailed down is a thing in DC. Some neighborhoods are better than others. I’m kind of surprised that mine’s never been taken/ smashed.

  • I get the feeling that pumpkin-stealing in people’s non-D.C. hometowns is more of a juvenile prank thing. Maybe some of the pumpkin-stealing in D.C. is also a juvenile prank thing, but I suspect some of it is part of the “stealing anything that’s not nailed down” that wdc described — people stealing something and using it for themselves. I suspect the thinking is “Why pay $6 to buy a pumpkin if you can steal one off someone’s porch instead?”

    • Allison

      Yeah, I guess I just don’t understand how one can enjoy using/looking at something they stole. I just can’t see a person saying “ahh, I love the smell of freshly pilfered patio furniture with my morning coffee.” Do they put it out of their minds? Do they enjoy it *more* because it is free/stolen? I can’t get the mindset.

      • They don’t re-use them, they smash them, like the supposed to. It’s so weird to me that people are at all surprised by this.

        Jesus, there’s even a Modern Family episode where the whole family steals the neighbors pumpkins. How is this not a thing here?

  • phl2dc

    A couple of years ago, a few kids took the pumpkin we’d placed on our stoop, ran away with it as we opened the door to see what the commotion was about (don’t know why they were making so much noise), and later came back to throw the pumpkin back at our door.

  • General Grant Circle

    I am the person who wrote this. Mainly it was a PSA – As some of the other commentators have pointed out, they tried my door – so I suspect my TV was the original target. I thought alerting the community that some rather lazy would-be burglars are going around trying handles would be a good idea. Secondly, I was just interested in the scope – was it just my block in Petworth or elsewhere. Lastly, I was looking for motivation – pumpkin smashing seems likely as they took more than enough pumpkins for one stoop!

    I would ALSO like to note that I am not lamenting my pumpkin here – it is a seasonal vegetable I am not particularly fond of. I deal daily with the horrors of the world in my job – the atrocities of boko haram, ISIS, etc. Please do not read the post as a rant – I was honestly more amused than annoyed (though also annoyed)

  • Be especially careful if you’re near a middle school or high school. The streets around Cardozo are regularly littered with smashed pumpkins and destroyed decor. If it’s ain’t bolted down, it’s fair game. There’s nothing quite like seeing a garbage truck drive over (and smash) a plastic life-sized skeleton strategically placed in the middle of the street as teen truants cheers in ghoulish delight….

  • I stopped buying pumpkins after the Great Squirrel Attack of 2009. The squirrels of Petworth are voracious and unsatisfied with mere acorns.

  • Here in SW, we’re pretty lucky I guess. We’ve always put out a big pumpkin and some of our neighbors too so far so good. Now, stolen packages delivered to the home is the big problem in our neighborhood–but I think that’s everywhere too.

    • I’ve never had a package stolen (we get 2-3 a week) but the thieves love taking our Halloween decorations. That, a chair cushion, and the front gate are the only things that have been stolen in the 5 years we’ve been here.

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