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Pumpkin Spice: trick or treat?

Autumn… the lovely season we anticipate with thoughts of colored leaves, spooky nights, comfy boots, and outfits accented with layers and scarves. While many students from up North have yet to realize it, the students familiar with year-round warmth are beginning to rejoice. Just how do we know autumn is a cool breeze away, when cold temperatures are lacking during the Florida fall?

It all boils down to two words, and one simple answer: pumpkin spice.

Whether it’s the scent or the infamous Starbucks latte, the most basic element of modern fall culture has arrived. “I think it’s overrated and it doesn’t even taste like pumpkin. I’d rather just have a slice of pumpkin pie,” Morgan Snoap ’20 stated when asked her opinion on the flavor. Rollins hails the start of fall early, nonetheless, marking its advent with pumpkin Snickers in the bookstore and Pumpkin Spice Lattes on Park Ave. Pumpkin is the staple of Halloween and Thanksgiving. It is one of the few items one can roll over from one holiday to the next. Naturally, the quintessential scents (which rarely include actual pumpkin) of the burgeoning season revolve around cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Due to its increasingly ubiquitous nature, some revile it. “Basic,” they will condescendingly sneer at its orange and brown-speckled veneer.

I’ve never dared to try one of Starbucks’ infamous lattes, but I will admit I have a soft spot for the scent. Pumpkin is to autumn what cinnamon, gingerbread, and the sticky sap of Christmas trees are to winter. Those who deem it pervasive are not wrong; it perfumes all seasonal shops and the homes of those “on trend.” It drifts languidly from frothy sugar-bombs to collect all around us in diaphanous folds. Simply put, it’s a staple, a sugary one. Perhaps part of the reason autumn is anticipated by so many is because it allows us to hide holiday pounds under snuggly attire. There are certainly few healthy options concerning the sweet side of the spice.

One issue that some find with the latte version is that it is hard to find vegan. “Only some cafes have vegan pumpkin spice. I don’t think Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is vegan…which is very sad. I like the spice part of it,” Dean Wynn ’20 responded when broached about the topic.

Maybe you hate it, maybe you love it. Perhaps you know that a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks has 40% of your daily value of saturated fat and 50 grams of sugar and avoid the drink completely. Maybe you know and indulge anyways. In the end, it’s all up to you.

Pumpkin spice is arguably overused, but, hey, it’s a classic of autumn! What’s special is the passage of time, often indicated by commercial corporations dictating that you get festive—fast—and earlier than need be. And yet, when fire falls from our wooden sentinels, tumbling like burning dancers down from the canopy, when the crisp air trickles into our heart, warming us up to the spooks that abound in the wisps of morning fog, we recollect the comforting revolution of the seasons. We fall in love with life once more.

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