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These Richmond Libraries Want to Smash Your Pumpkins 

click to enlarge news45_pumpkins.jpg

If you're thinking of trashing that jack-o'-lantern, why not make it a stress buster, too? Westover Hills and Ginter Park library branches have issued invites to grab the kids, take your pumpkins and smash them to smithereens. The pumpkins. Not the kids.

Squash them into pulpy, pumpkin purée. Chunks o' gourd glory.

Call it recycling. Or therapy.

Storyteller Deborah Alsko will visit both libraries Saturday, Nov. 9, to regale families on how pumpkins can be recycled. She'll have a pool liner with her, and when she's done she'll let the gourds fall where they may.

"They'll get the whole thrill of smashing pumpkins and not having to clean it up afterwards," says Rebecca Kimberlin, children's services associate at Ginter Park Library.

Alsko, a teacher at Reams Road Elementary in Chesterfield County, is known as the Backpack Storyteller. "I was out in my garden working, and it just popped into my head that it would be fun to have a pumpkin smash," Alsko says. While she's still developing the stories she'll tell, she says she'll arrive with an ugly pumpkin in her backpack.

Alsko will perform at Westover Hills at 11 a.m. and Ginter Park at 2 p.m. The jack-o'-lantern carcasses will go to the compost heaps of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

While the target audience is families with young children, Alsko says all ages and pumpkins are welcome.

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