I hope you had a happy Halloween, that you’re not groaning under the weight of leftover candy, and that your house was not T.P.’d.

One thing I find amazing this time of year is the propensity for Americans to produce everything possibly known to man in the anything edible category in the form of Pumpkin Something.

The irony of all this is that you guys, for the most part from December through October, view pumpkins with a slight sneer and a rather ‘yuck-poo’ attitude, seeing the humble pumpkin as something to take home once a year, savagely gut and attack with sharp knives to create scary jack-o-lanterns with which to create awe in short ankle biters. Either that, or buy it in canned form to make your pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, which I understand do wonderfully with lashings of whipped cream – the ‘heavy on the whipped cream' – or heaven help me, Cool Whip – light on the pie please, we’re just trying to appease grandma’ type serving.

There I was, minding my own business and deep in thought at the gas pump over the weekend, and I looked up to see the advertisement above the pump urging me to rush inside for pumpkin filled pretzels. Not being a pretzel lover, I was quite content to ignore this exhortation.

I then pottered off to the grocery store, and it was like something out of a Freddy Kruger movie. Every turn I made I was attacked by pumpkin spice salsa, pumpkin spice tea, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin flavored caramels, pumpkin spice Cheerios, pumpkin spice yogurt and even pumpkin spice ice cream.

Can’t you hear the kids in the back seat imploring Mom and Dad to buy them a pumpkin ice cream? “No, no, Mommy, I don’t want chocolate, I want punkin!”

Milano cookies – thin melt in your mouth cookies, lovingly sandwiching rich chocolate – but oh, no. Pepperidge Farm doesn’t hold with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mode of thought. Oh no, we had to fiddle with it and create a pumpkin spice version. Nabisco leapt onto the bandwagon and has come up with pumpkin filled Oreos. Imagine the delight in little trick-or-treaters faces if offered them instead of a candy bar.

Your dog won’t miss out either – there is a pumpkin spice dental treat and even a pumpkin spice doggie version of a latte for heaven’s sake for Fido and Fifi, just in case they might feel left out of the festivities. I would’ve thought squirrel or cat flavored would be preferable, but who am I to question your dog’s taste buds, after all. Maybe I missed the canine memo.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of pumpkin, be it an enormous Queensland Blue, or a delicate Butternut, either are superb roasted or turned into a creamy soup to be served with accompanying bowls of grilled onions; crispy diced bacon; sour cream; and chives, and a loaf of hot crusty bread with a slathering of heart-stopping real butter.

Don’t pretend to be a pumpkin – be a pumpkin!

-- Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedearkc@hotmail.com.