Autumn in Germany: A Time of Pumpkins, Spiders and Unintentionally Hilarious German Women

“So beautiful, yet so goddamn cold…” — Image Credit: Bert Kaufmann ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License

It would seem Summer has come to an end here in Hannover, Germany. There’s a chill in the air. Winds are blowing from the north and rain is falling with ever increasing frequency. Alas, I can no longer wear shorts and flip-flops and saunter around town like the cocksure American I am.

Soon will come Fall — or “Autumn,” if you want to romanticize the death of Summer and the obliteration of all things warm and good in the world. Fall in Germany does bring a few half-decent things with it though, like Oktoberfest, colorful tree leaves and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Of all the German vegetables, the only one I cannot remember is harvested in Fall. No matter how hard I try to cram the name into my brain, “Kürbis” just won’t stick. Kürbis means “pumpkin” in English, and as we all know, pumpkins are perhaps the most useless of all vegetables on earth. Oh sure, in America we eviscerate them, carve horrifying shapes into their sides and then illuminate our handiwork with candles for Halloween, but they don’t really do that here in Germany. You can bake pumpkin slices and eat them if you want, but I promise you won’t like them unless they’re drowned in butter. Now, pumpkin seeds are pretty good all by themselves, but they’re a bitch to clean and dry. And pumpkin pie absolutely rules, but so would cat shit pie if you threw enough sugar at it.

Anyway, my German wife and I were walking along a street in the Linden-Nord district of Hannover when we happened by a Turkish produce stand. They had these massive pumpkins on display, and I pointed them out to my wife, amazed by their size and unusual shape. My wife, however, kept right on walking and said:

Pumpkins look creepy to me. That one looks like a spider butt.



16 thoughts

  1. Being an American who just married a German man (the 5th of this month); I can concur that pumpkins are not as wonderful to ‘der Mann’ as they are to me. Plus, they’re missing the glory of Halloween! I am dreading the lack of Halloween here in Germany!!


    1. When my German wife and I were stationed in Kaiserslautern back in the day…the German kids and their parents would walk over to the Ami housing area and trick or treat thru the large multi family housing units on Halloween…it was kinda cute and those German kids did their best “trick or treat” imitations. Good memories.


  2. This is my kind of humor, I guess: When I got to the line about cat s*** pie, I totally cracked up. . . Snorted my latte right out my nose.


  3. Our German in-laws live in the Black Forest and when I told our daughter-in-law’s mother that I would make them a pumpkin pie, the concept of “sweet” and “pumpkin” just didn’t compute. I may as well have said that I would make a pumpkin pie out of spider butts.


  4. Cheer up! During the typical German ‘Indian Summer’ period pumpkins serve wonderful well for outside decoration purposes. Apart from the different colors, shapes and sizes, the most prodigious feature is their weatherproof durability.


  5. I like cake made with shredded pumpkin flesh (like a carrot cake, the vegetable is just there to keep it wet enough). And my fall go to recipe is pumpkin soup. 1 kg of Hokkaido (where you don’t have to cut away the peel), 1 onion, I think about 1 litre of broth (too lazy to check up now) and if you want to some cream. Cut the Hokkaido in small cubes, cut the onion in cubes, let both cook with some oil in a big sauce pan, add the broth after the onions are glassy, cook about half an hour or a little more (check: the pumpkin pieces should be squashy), portion it and shred it in the mixer or with a Pürierstab, get it back into the sauce pan, add the cream (if wanted) and some curry. Taste for need of additional salt (hint: the broth is usually salty enough, be careful there) or other spices.


  6. “Kürbis” = squash of all kinds, as well as pumpkins. Not to mention Halloween is alive and well here in our corner of NRW. We get trick-or-treaters of various ages every year on Halloween…


  7. It’s that season again. My American g/f will now want me to make pumpkin soup again until it comes running out of her nose. I don’t say I hate pumpkins.


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