You have been found guilty of being basic during the month of October. For your heinous act, you have been sentenced to a pumpkin patch, where you will consecutively serve one weekend a year, or possibly two or three weekends a year, in October, until you are eligible for parole.

Before transport, you will dress yourself in such clothing as long-sleeve flannel, sweaters, vests, and hoodies as if a cold shall descend upon you, only to find a hot blaring midday sun throughout your stay. During transport, a teenage attendant will force you to weave through uneven, muddy terrain until you dent a fender trying to park between a Dodge Megacab and a Chrysler Pacifica.

You are required to pay all fees and unforeseen expenses in accordance with your stay, including the parking fee, entrance fee, pumpkin fee, pony ride fee, pony ride insurance waiver fee, and food and beverage costs. You must trek again through the mud back to your vehicle upon learning that only cash will be accepted.

You must undergo a minimum of three to five vaguely agrarian, autumn-themed activities to satisfy this court. This must involve standing in line on a country farm as if you were at a theme park or downtown dance club. At this time, you will discover allergenic responses you were heretofore previously unaware of.

As part of your penance, you will enter a twisting labyrinth of mental challenges carved out of rows and rows of corn. You could simply run between the stalks back to the entrance at any given time, but your pride will not allow you to do so. You will be driven mad by the persistence of this unsolvable, unending tangle of mutated grasses.

For sustenance, you will be served only cider, which you will pretend to enjoy; corn on the cob, which you will pretend is easy to handle; kettle corn, which you will pretend you’ll need a five-pound bag of; and pumpkin-flavored everything, which you will pretend you are not tired of.

Before departing, you will be required to perform the unpaid labor of selecting and hauling pumpkins from the patch to the transport vehicle. This must take place as far as possible from the entrance and across a rolling hill of ankle-grabbing vines and stone-heavy gourds that could roll into your ankle at any moment.

Then you must carry the pumpkin up the hill, through the checkout gate, past the women obsessing over decorative gourds, and to the transport in one of the following manners:

  • like a villager fetching water
  • awkwardly hoisted upon the shoulder like a mounted cannon
  • at the belly, simulating late pregnancy
  • at one’s hip, attempting to walk without waddling
  • like Sisyphus, in vain before it again rolls downward

Expect to sit on a block of hay and try not to fall off the back of a tractor bed. Expect to be sat upon a pony and walked in a circle. Expect to be tossed in a corncrib full of hardened kernels. Expect to be shoved in a gunny sack and made to slide down a giant PVC pipe. Expect bluegrass music.

When you return home, you will face your final sentence: having to take a knife to the pumpkin you selected, scrape out all of its innards, and humiliate yourself in trying to form the semblance of a human face and stick it on your porch. Light a candle, drop it in the gourd, and think about what you’ve done.