Utah-based LGBTQ+ nonprofit Encircle, begun by CEO Stephenie Larsen in 2016, is having a Halloween fundraiser. With the incredible generosity of Teresa Forbush Wood, Encircle is able to provide beautifully crafted “Love Louder Pumpkins” to the youth who attend the homes daily for services like therapy, Friendship Circles, tours, art nights, write nights and tons more.
Forbush Wood has been engraving pumpkins for about six years now. “We (my husband, Doug, is a big part of getting the ground prepared and the cultivating done as the plants grow) plant in May, I usually start scarring by late June and that continues into September. Harvest comes in October.” Dedicating her hard work to Encircle, Forbush Wood has donated nearly 700 pumpkins yearly for the youth to place in their homes as Halloween decorations.
“The best way I’ve found to tell someone about my preferred timing to scar a pumpkin is to wait until they are ‘teenagers.’ When they have what you think will be most of their growth, but while the skin is still tender. I get to spend about half the year thinking about positive things I can write on them.” Forbush Wood said. “I really love the work, though it’s itchy, hot and requires more concentration than you might think. It’s hard to see what you’ve written. You don’t want to lose your place. I get a little uncomfortable when people talk about it because it seems a bit strange to me that somebody would spend their time scratching pumpkins, but it’s great fun in the end.”
On Friday, Oct. 15 at the Salt Lake City house from five to eight p.m., Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Provo house from four to seven p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 23 at the St. George house from 10 a.m. to one p.m., Encircle will be hosting a Pumpkin Patch for LGTBQ+ youth. On this fun night of Halloween festivities, each of these youth will be able to take home their own donated, engraved pumpkin. These pumpkins are $20 and can be purchased on the Encircle website — all of the money going toward mental health services provided at the homes.
“I’m planning on doing it for a decade, assuming Encircle wants me to. What would I do with all those pumpkins, if not?” Forbush Wood said. “It’s a pleasure to see people come and look through them and interesting to see what speaks to them.”
Spread a little spooky-time spirit and donate a beautifully engraved pumpkin to show support for the LGBTQ+ community at https://encircleshop.org/products/love-louder-pumpkin!