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People are using pink pumpkins to spread breast cancer awareness during Halloween

Trade your orange jack-o'-lantern for something a little more meaningful this year.

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As soon as October hits, many of us focus on one thing and one thing only: Halloween. But let's not forget that October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Throughout the month, many local and national organizations host events and fundraisers to raise awareness and money for the cause, but some people also turn to a classic Halloween craft — painted pumpkins — to show their support for family members, friends and neighbors affected by breast cancer.

Pink pumpkins aren't linked to any major charities, such as the American Cancer Society and Breast Cancer Research Foundation, but there are a number of smaller nonprofits, businesses and medical institutions that use these brightly-colored gourds as part of their annual fundraising efforts.

Some, like Baton Rouge General in Louisiana, assemble pop-up pink pumpkin fields to remind women to "Protect Their Pumpkins," while others, including Southeastern Med in Massachusetts, team up with local businesses to sell limited-edition pink pumpkins throughout the month. Take The Pink Pumpkin Project, for example: Each year, they decorate and sell anywhere from 800 to 1,200 pink pumpkins as a way to give "faith, hope, love and compassion" to their surrounding area. All of the proceeds from the pumpkins go right back to their community, supporting those going through treatment with financial and emotional assistance.

pink pumpkins
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Placing a pink pumpkin on your porch or doorstep may also give someone the push they need to schedule a mammogram. The CDC recommends annual mammograms for women ages 40-54 and biennial mammograms for women over the age of 55 with a history of normal results.

Of course, there are other ways to make a more sizable impact — say, donating your time or money to trusted nonprofits or your local hospital — but pink pumpkins are an easy way to add more meaning to your indoor or outdoor Halloween display.