By MIKE WILSON
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 31, 2000
Times photographs by Patty Yablonski
Pumpkin designed by Wilma Norton and Hannah Couture
When we placed the Withering Palm Tree Pumpkin on the front stoop two weeks ago, we knew it would be putrid when Oct. 31 came around. But this is worse, and therefore better, than anything we could have hoped for.
We have made our point -- and some penicillin. With most kids dressing up benignly as Harry Potter characters and Powerpuff Girls, there will be nothing scarier tonight than our gross-o'-lantern.
Here is our field report from Day 14:
FIRMNESS: Would you touch this thing? Pumpkin has deflated like an airbag after an accident.
CONDITION OF PALM TREE: Unrecognizable as Florida flora. The fronds now resemble the tassels on a jester's hat.
SMELL: Oddly neutral, as if the bacterial stench had simply exhausted itself, like an air freshener left in the car for two years.
COLOR: An explosion of oranges, shades of black, fungal greens and morbid whites.
LEVEL OF INSECT INFESTATION: Zero. Even the gnats won't live in this neighborhood.