England

Halloween: Pumpkin pickers enjoy bumper crop

Children in pumpkin wheelbarrow Image copyright Instagram/Out With Family
Image caption Ava Rose Patel and her younger sister Violet haven't left any room for pumpkins in their wheelbarrow at The Pop Up Farm in Hertfordshire

The scorching summer of 2018 wasn't just good news for sun worshippers - it also provided the perfect weather for pumpkin growing.

And with Halloween just around the corner, it seems more of us than ever before are rolling our sleeves up and picking our own.

Social media has been abuzz with photos of gourd-lovers getting to grips with these crucial Halloween props.

A man pushes a buggy full of pumpkins Image copyright PA
Image caption Apparently a buggy wasn't enough for this man at Undley Pumpkin Patch in Lakenheath, Suffolk
Four dogs with pumpkins Image copyright Chloe Murray
Image caption Of course the dogs have got in on the act...
Dog with pumpkins Image copyright Sophie Stokes
Image caption ...but Gordon setter puppy Charles would probably prefer to chase smaller balls at this farm in Bednall, Staffordshire

Farmer Richard Simkin grows several thousand pumpkins for people to pick at Essington Farm in Staffordshire.

He says the pumpkins are "very weather sensitive".

"They had nice warm weather which they like," he said.

"They were a bit short of water so we had to irrigate them most days."

Kerry Parvin and her friend Alice Greenwood-Wilson with pumpkins Image copyright Kerry Parvin
Image caption Alice Greenwood-Wilson (left) and her friend Kerry Parvin show off their prized pumpkins at Kenton Hall Farm in Warrington
Children with pumpkins Image copyright Grace Stockton
Image caption Six-month-old Gunner Luke Stockton and his sisters Isla-Beau (top left) and Piper-Blu enjoyed a day out at Essington Farm in Staffordshire

His top tip for making them last?

"If you want to keep it for longer than a few days then it's important you keep the stalk on. If that is removed it creates a wound which rots.

"And if you want to keep it then don't carve it because it only has a life off about three to four days after it's carved."

A person carrying a pumpkin Image copyright PA
Image caption This pumpkin picker could be auditioning for a role in the next Halloween horror film
Sally and Ella Jones surrounded by pumpkins Image copyright Paul Jones
Image caption Sally Jones and her daughter Ella were surrounded by pumpkins at Llynclys Hall Farm in Oswestry, Shropshire
Lion with pumpkins Image copyright WMSP
Image caption Not sure anyone at West Midland Safari Park will be telling lioness Amber that she has taken their pumpkin
Penguins with pumpkin Image copyright WMSP
Image caption P-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-pick up a pumpkin
Pumpkin stall at Borough Market
Image caption Of course for those who don't want to pick their own, there is always this pumpkin stall at Borough Market in London

Impressive efforts from everyone, now we just need to work out how to lift this monster pumpkin grown by twin brothers Ian and Stuart Paton.

It weighs 174 stone (1,105kg) and is the heaviest ever grown indoors in the UK.

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Media captionIan and Stuart Paton say it's "pretty cool" to have grown the third biggest fruit that's ever sat on the face of the Earth

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