Point of No Return — Fall is marked by pumpkin spice explosion

Date Published: 
Oct. 20, 2017

Our enemies are more clever than we ever anticipated.

We’ve spent billions attempting to secure and shore up our borders, and God only knows how many hours trying to solidify our nation’s cybersecurity. We have satellites and drones, masters of disguise and espionage on our payroll, and every person walking down a city street or crouched in a deer blind has a phone in his or her pocket that can instantly be used to record “suspicious activity” around us. Yet, we’ve still been infiltrated.

Of course, I’m talking about pumpkin spice.

The genesis of this assault on our senses is still in much dispute. However, we feel pretty solid in assuming Patient X was a latte of some form, and we now believe it was packaged intentionally with a pumpkin spice doughnut.

Based on countless hours of interrogation (yeah, I’ve asked nobody) and stringent use of the scientific method (again, I have used no science, whatsoever), we can hypothesize that this doubling-down of pumpkin spice during the breakfast hours caused a pumpkinization of our internal mechanisms — thus opening the door for more pumpkin spice to infiltrate our very way of life.

If it is indeed proven that this gourd spice phenomenon began with lattes and doughnuts, we feel it’s safe to assume that the next wave to hit came in the form of flavored beers — a concept that seems at once both remarkably unpatriotic and tantalizingly yummy. I mean, messing with the integrity of beer just feels like something our enemies would do to disrupt our very way of life. On the other hand, it does create a really good flavor that...

But I digress.

Did you forget over the last 10 months about how much pumpkin spice appears in October and November every year? Well, Pepperidge Farms remembers. They now make pumpkin spice Milano cookies and Swirl Bread. If you really want to take your pumpkin spice Swirl Bread to new autumnal heights, try spreading on some Philadelphia Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese from the fine people at Kraft.

What am I doing? I’m becoming part of this pumpkin spice problem without even trying. They suck you in with one — or 17 — pumpkin spice beers, and the next thing you know you are giving out culinary advice on how to get more of this dispersed to the rest of our beloved nation. They are clever, these folks. Very clever.

And their momentum is clearly picking up as we speed toward Halloween. I have seen pumpkin spice candy corn and M&Ms, to go along with pumpkin spice instant oatmeal and pumpkin spice granola bars. There are pumpkin spice bagels, pumpkin spice shortbread cookies and pumpkin spice egg-and-scrapple sandwiches sold at...

Yeah, just wanted to see if you were still reading.

It’s quite obvious to me that this pumpkin spice proliferation has invaded our nation via Russian interference. Or, quite possibly, aliens. It definitely has to be one of those two outside sources that had the audacity to...

Well, maybe North Korea. I mean, really, if you have to pick one outside foe that would be diabolical enough to pull off something like this, it would have to be North Korea, right? Switzerland? They’ve been pretty under-the-radar for some time now. Perhaps they have been working on a pumpkin spice invasion behind the scenes all these years.

Regardless of who is behind this aromatic attack, it is evident to all that we are under seige, and there is no sign of it letting up any time soon. If anything, we are getting more pumpkin spice than ever before, and we started getting it earlier in the year than ever before.

The New York Times ran an article in August called “Pumpkin Spice Glut Arrives Earlier Than Ever.” The article cited the annual arrival of the Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte as being the “capstone event” of pumpkin spice season. In 2015, the beverage arrived on Sept. 8. Last year, it hit the masses on Sept. 6. This year? Sept. 1.

Notice the trend? At this rate, pumpkin spice will be a thing 365 days a year starting in about 2043.

Or not. The article explained how retailers use “stop and start dates” to build excitement for a product, and with pumpkin spice probably disappearing by the end of the calendar year, the retailers are able to foster a belief that this is a rare and scarce product — comparing it to how McDonald’s has marketed the McRib sandwich over the years.

Pumpkin spice McRib? I don’t believe the Internet, or my gastrointestinal system, could handle it.

A 2014 Buzzfeed article focused on products that weren’t being made with pumpkin spice, but the author argued should be, including pumpkin spice toothpaste, Skittles, nasal spray, deodorant and ring pops. The article also included pumpkin spice Doritos, but I figured I’d keep that to myself so I could try to corner the market...

I’ve said too much.

Trends come, and trends go, and I suspect the pumpkin spice trend will disappear once it has run its course, as well. And, if it does stay on as an autumnal staple, keep in mind that it will disappear as fast as retailers can start stacking eggnog-flavored lollipops and peppermint-laced coffee drinks.

Unless, pumpkin spice eggnog becomes a thing. God help us all.