October is here, which means pumpkin season is in full swing! Pumpkins can be a fun and festive way to decorate your home for the fall, but before you start carving and decorating with them, you might want to verify if any state or local ordinances apply.
Keep an eye on local laws
There are a few states that have specific ordinances regarding pumpkins. For example, in Arizona, it’s illegal to leave your pumpkins outside in Maricopa County, because they can attract wildlife like coyotes and bears. In California, it’s illegal to sell pumpkins that have been painted or treated with any chemicals that are not specifically approved for use on food.
In addition to state ordinances, there may also be local laws in your city or county — or even your homeowners association — that apply to pumpkins. Some cities have ordinances that restrict the size of pumpkins that can be placed on front porches or sidewalks, for example. Others prohibit pumpkin carving that depicts violence or other potentially offensive imagery.
Things to keep in mind
Even if your area has no specific ordinances regarding pumpkins, there are still a few things you should keep in mind when decorating (with) them.
- Watch your surroundings: Be careful not to carve your pumpkins too close to your home, as the slip of the wrong tool or lost control of a gourd could damage your siding or foundation.
- Safety first: Carve your pumpkins using the proper tools and safety precautions, and make sure they’re placed in a safe, well-lit location afterward, where they are not likely to be tripped over or knocked over.
- Environment-conscious: If you prefer decorating your pumpkins over carving them, be sure to use non-toxic paint and markers. This is especially important if you have pets or children who may come into contact with the pumpkins.
- Post-celebration: Dispose of your pumpkins properly after Halloween. You can compost them, donate them to a local farm or zoo, or simply throw them away in the trash.
Learning about your state and local pumpkin-based ordinances can help you avoid any potential fines or penalties. By following a few simple safety tips (plus these fall decorating tips), you can ensure that your pumpkin decorations are enjoyed by everyone.