Floating pumpkins spook flooded Washington town

Saturday, October 25, 2003

TAHUYA, Wash. -- Seems like Mother Nature is offering an early Halloween display in western Washington.

This week's high floodwater had more than a few people spooked when pumpkins started floating by.

Maybe it was because the flooding came earlier this season -- before Halloween -- along rivers that run through some of the state's best farmland. But pumpkins bobbing and bumping down the swollen rivers were a common sight after the floodwaters washed past the patches.

"In the 30 years we been living here we've seen everything -- seafood, dead animals, deer. But we've never seen pumpkins," said Becky Newbill, who picked eight pumpkins off her Hood Canal beach on Tuesday. The pumpkins washed down the nearby Skokomish River and across the saltwater inlet to her beach.

Until the rivers recede, Bill Hunter Jr. said it would be hard to tell how much of his pumpkin patch washed away when the Skokomish spilled its banks.

As other Mason County residents banded together to move mounds of dirt and gravel blocking driveways and roads, some beachcombed freely from the scattered bounty of jack-o-lanterns-to-be.

In Everett near Ebey Slough, Bob Johnson spotted scores of the orange gourds floating down the Snohomish River.

"There goes a bunch of pumpkins," Johnson said Tuesday. "I can see two, four, six, eight, 10, 12 ... there must be a thousand pumpkins down there."

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