There's nothing like pumpkin innards strewn across a dry field to signal the onset of Halloween.
Pumpkins doomed to not stay in one piece even until Halloween were smashed in Kelley Park in downtown Ballston Spa Sunday, Oct. 28, as part of festivities that included jumping on hay bales, making lollipop ghosts, watching a bonfire and winning purple vampire teeth.
The annual Falling Leaves Festival, postponed due to rain on Saturday, brought hordes of costumed-kids and parents wearing hats and gloves together for a parade and afternoon of outdoor activities.
Meg Stevens, a candidate for a town of Milton town council seat, organized tables full of crafts and the messy but necessary pie-eating contest.
Kids just never get tired of this, said Stevens, watching small faces get stained by cherry pie. "We give them some pie to take home, if they can stand to eat any more."
One of the most popular events was the pumpkin catapult, where kids lined up with orbs almost too large for them to carry and loaded them onto a launcher to be flung skyward. With a surprising amount of lift but very little air time, the pumpkins fell like dead weight about 20 feet from the launcher.
Sage Cowit, 6, waited her turn at the launcher and talked about her costume for Halloween, a kitty princess.
"We don't have a kitty, but we do have a guinea pig named Blackie," said Cowit, who is missing her front teeth that she may need to chomp candy this week. "I use a plastic pumpkin to collect candy, but I give the lollipops to my dad."
Brother Noah Cowit, 9, said his parents don't ever ask him to share candy.
Jack Shea, 4, sat on a bale of hay in the hay maze dressed as a "pirate ghost."