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October means the video game pumpkins are back, baby!

Ghost Town's Pumpkin Festival returns, plus other fun pumpkin games

As has been tradition for many a year now (three), Mayor Bones Proudly Presents: Ghost Town's 1001st Annual Pumpkin Festival is back! I first reported on this free pumpkin carving game from Adamgryu (of A Short Hike fame) way back in 2020, when it was only the 999th festival, and Alice0 took a stroll around it last year, too.

This year the pumpkins are back, and better than ever. Download the Pumpkin Fest for pay-what-you-can on Itch, carve your very own pump with the tools provided, and place it among the efforts of others in a peaceful spooky scene. You can take a walk around and vote for your favourite pumps. But this isn't the only pumpkin game to enjoy! I've found a couple of others, too. It's the reason for the spooky season.

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As you can see from my jaunt around the festival this year, there aren't many entries yet, but by gum are people pulling the stops out. My favourite was a Nightmare Before Christmas pump, with the curled hill carved on the front and Jack's silhouette on the back. Good for you if that's your pump! This year you can award rosettes to your favourites, and customise your ghost self with a moustache or cat face (to the haunting strains of the Moonlight Sonata). Ghost Town's Pumpkin Festival is fast becoming one of my most favourite halloween traditions.

I'm a fan of a pumpkin, as well. In the UK we don't eat them in pie or coffee form, and basically just carve them and throw them away over halloween, but there's something very magnetic about them. Big orange-y hollow things. It's sort of magic opening one up and seeing that, somehow, there's a big gap in the middle. Imagine my delight when I discovered there are loads of pumpkin games to enjoy.

A screen from Boo!: a floating pumpkin above several cauldrons full of different coloured paint, along with different head accessories with which to decorate the pumpkin.

Boo!, a spooky puzzle game that Brendy (RPS In Peace) wrote about in 2017, is now finished and out. The goal is to use paint dips in the right order, combined with things like eye patches and hats, to make a pumpkin decorated in the same pattern as your exemplar. You'll recognise the work if you played Factory Balls, cos it's the same dev. It is both difficult and charming, and I'm a big fan. Currently stuck on pumpkin number 12.

Boo! is pretty cheap, but if you want cheaper there are some really fun Pumpkin games on Itch that, like Ghost Town's Pumpkin Festival, are available to play for free. I really enjoyed Pumpkin Kid, which amounts to a sort of time management game. You explore a graveyard, whack spooks with a shovel, and keep pumpkins lit by feeding them candles. There's also Pumpkin Spice Paradise (which has a sequel, too), a very cute Bitsy game where you traverse invisible mazes to find pumpkin spice lattes.

My favourite, however, is Pumpkin Party. You stand at a conveyor belt and press a key to either carve, light or destroy a pumpkin depending on their current status, keeping in time to the beat if possible. If you get up a good streak then disco lights come on. It's very difficult, but also very fun.

So why not get your pumpkin on this year? Or, if you're in the mood for something actually quite scary, check out our best horror games list (which I recently updated, just for you). Meanwhile, I'm going to take another few turns around the Pumpkin Festival.

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Alice Bell avatar

Alice Bell

Deputy Editor

Small person powered by tea and books; RPS's dep ed since 2018. Send her etymological facts and cool horror or puzzle games.