Red robes and winged bonnets from the Handmaid’s Tale. The Dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park. A teeny-tiny rat from the Plague. These are just some of the literary motifs Capitol Hill residents have carved or painted on pumpkin canvasses for the neighborhood’s Literary Pumpkin Walk.
Bookish gourds will be on display in front yards until Halloween. The Capitol Hill Community Foundation, which organizes the event, has compiled a map of where to find the publication-themed pumpkins.
“It’s really just community building,” says Todd Cymrot, a foundation board member. “The underlying goal of the pumpkin walk is just to get neighbors out and doing something fun for the neighborhood.”
Before the pandemic, the foundation hosted a literature-themed feast for their annual fundraiser. But when gatherings became a public health issue in 2020, the organization started the pumpkin walk as a Covid-safe celebration of literature and camaraderie. This year’s fest features 26 houses, including themed blocks like Walter Street, where almost every house is a scene from Harry Potter.
Cymrot notes the event isn’t just aesthetic: Visitors can vote on October 31st for their favorite display, and the winner gets to donate $1,000 to an area school of their choice.
Check out some of the literary pumpkins.