Heidi Bunch Haylee Dalton is shown with her perfect pumpkin at Lion’s Park last week.

Heidi Bunch
Haylee Dalton is shown with her perfect pumpkin at Lion’s Park last week.

Hawthorne Elementary students got into the Halloween spirit last week when they were given the opportunity to pick the perfect pumpkin.

Inmates at the Mineral County Detention Facility grew pumpkins of all shapes and sizes to give to the children. When informed of how many of the pumpkins they would need, the sheriff’s office realized that they were 12 short and called upon the Lion’s Club to help fill the need.

Students were allowed to pluck their own perfect pumpkin.

The inmate pumpkin growing program has been in affect for years, with previous sheriff’s realizing the need to help both the inmates and the community members.

Inmates are allowed to tend to a garden, which grows more than just the gourds. In a facility where a chief complaint can be the quality of food, fresh grown produce not only helps the inmates’ health, it also cuts down on food costs for the detention facility.

Besides getting to choose their pumpkin, the children mingled with Lions Club members, McGruff the Crime Dog and the sheriff and undersheriff of Mineral County.

Many of the older students who have participated in the pumpkin patch in the past knew the hassles of carrying the larger pumpkins back to their classrooms and could be seen choosing the smaller gourds. Smaller children, who were excited for Halloween and fall events, chose pumpkins so large that they could barely pick them up.

In this controlled chaos moment, where children ran free to grab just the right pumpkin, one small boy was overheard, after visiting with McGruff, “I wish I had a dog like him at home.”