Europe is a rich resource for vampire stories, and nowhere is tied as closely to vampire myths as the Balkan peninsula. Romania, in particular, is so steeped in vampiric lore that it’s become an inextricable part of their history, and the belief in vampires plays an important part in their cultural development. It makes sense they’d have some particularly unique vampire stories.
How a pumpkin or watermelon becomes a vampire depends on the region you’re visiting. The transformation may occur when the ground fruit is kept for ten days, or if it’s kept past Christmas. It may only occur after a pumpkin has been stored ripe and dry for three years.
Some claim the fruit grow to unusual sizes when they change, while others claim the only way to tell it’s become a vampire is finding blood spots in the rind. Red discoloration on the rind of a watermelon is common when the fruit is old, and similar scars can be found on pumpkins in any supermarket. Naturally, we should dispose of these ground fruits immediately, lest they attack our families.
The vampire pumpkins are known to be documented in one source; a book by Tatomir P. Vukanović, a Serbian historian which delves into the complex history of vampire lore in the region.
According to his book, The Vampire, these vampiric ground fruit come to life shortly after their change, rolling around in attempt to injure people and livestock. Unlike other vampires, disposal of the vampire ground fruit is a simple matter.
The vampire pumpkin or watermelon should be immersed in boiling water and the water poured off, after which it should be scrubbed with a broom and thrown away. With the vampire fruit disposed of, the broom used for cleansing should be burned.
While Vukanović’s book doesn’t mention what happens if the fruit is not properly disposed of, cultural context makes it safe to assume that anyone who consumes the flesh of a vampire watermelon or pumpkin would become a vampire themselves. Naturally, this means you might want to check your pumpkins for signs of vampirism this fall.
Pumpkin pie, anyone?