Monday, October 31, 2011


A long time ago – close to 60 years, I’d guess – someone at the ConocoPhillips oil refinery in Wilmington, California, (a small neighbor of my home town of Long Beach) looked at its squat 3-million gallon storage tank and saw the possibility of turning it into the world’s biggest Jack-O-Lantern. The idea was embraced by management and after being touched by more than 100 gallons of paint the change was completed. From a nondescript tank to a giant pumpkin --- voila!

There is no online record of who deserves the honor of having had this wonderful vision- but from that time on, every Halloween the storage tank has been turned into this wonderful display. Especially nice is the happy face, which means that every little kid in the area can be driven by this refinery and not scared half out of their wits by a fierce face! My own kids, all born in Long Beach, couldn’t wait for each Halloween to come, not only because of Trick-or-Treating (which was totally safe in those days) but also because they knew there was a giant pumpkin just waiting to smile on them when their dad and I made our annual trek over to Wilmington.

The Jack-O-Lantern is still there, smiling, all these many years later. I don’t know if ConocoPhillips still owns the refinery, but it sure pleases me that this tradition is still being carried on and that new generations of kiddies can have the kind of pleasure that my own did.

Have fun, my friends, and make it a safe day.

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