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Pumpkin Alley calls it quits

After a 20-year run, originator says gourdish ghouls have to go.

October 24, 2012|By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com
  • Just a fraction of the jack-o-lanters left over in the aftermath of Sharon Deacon's yearly "pumpkin alley," which could be wrapping up in 2012.
Just a fraction of the jack-o-lanters left over in the… (Courtesy of Sharon…)

For the last two decades, hundreds of La Cañada Flintridge kids have walked the spooky stretch of “Pumpkin Alley” on Earlmont Avenue every Halloween. But host Sharon Deacon says this is the last year she'll organize the jack-o'-lantern tradition.

“I've been doing it for 20 years, and unless I get it adopted, it's going to be the last year,” Deacon said this week.

“I have a lot of children who are upset with me, but … the organizational time is quite a lot to get 100 pumpkins carved.”

Deacon said that while she'd be happy to lend her driveway to any La Cañadan interested in continuing the tradition, the work involved in picking up the pumpkins and organizing the 15 to 20 pumpkin carvers required to get the alley ready has become too much for her.

She said that while she wields a jigsaw to carve out lids and gut the pumpkins, the transformation of gourds into ghoulish works of art has come courtesy of La Cañada High School and Flintridge Preparatory Key Clubs and local Little League teams and Scout troops over the years — as well as from some serious carvers.

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“We did have some Disney artists that were friends who would carve some very unique pumpkins,” she said.

Deacon said the annual lining of her long driveway on Earlmont Avenue with 100 lighted jack-o'-lanterns was first dubbed Pumpkin Alley by her friend Robert Frank soon after its 1993 inception, before she realized it was going to become a decades-long tradition.

“It's a kick because I have kids who come back from college and bring their college friends because they want their friends to see Pumpkin Alley,” Deacon said. “It's really been a delight through the years.”

Deacon's daughter, Sylinda Geller, said she was getting surprisingly emotional that this could be the last year for Pumpkin Alley, which started when she was 15.

“It started as a bunch of friends of mine and we carved 100 pumpkins in high school, and here we are 20 years later,” Geller said. “We were teenagers goofing off, carving a ludicrous amount of pumpkins, and I had no idea what it would turn into.”

Geller, who now lives in Glendale, said Pumpkin Alley has become a tradition not only in the community, but in the family.

“My daughter is turning 6 next week, and she is so upset that Pumpkin Alley is going to be over,” she said.

Deacon will be hosting two lightings of Pumpkin Alley this year, on Sunday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., and then the traditional 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Halloween night, Oct. 31, at 1728 Earlmont Ave.

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