CBSN

Drought means smaller pumpkins for Calif. this Halloween

FREMONT, Calif. -- The drought in California is even impacting Halloween. Local pumpkin patches are going dry, and that means the Great Pumpkin may not be so great this year, CBS San Francisco station KPIX-TV reports.

The pumpkins picked and rolled out of J.E. Perry Farms won't be nearly as large as the ones in years past.

"I've got a lot of small ones," said Doug Perry, manager of J. E. Perry Farms, in Fremont. "Everybody's short on medium and large pumpkins this year, but we did what we could under the circumstances."

The drought is weighing heavily on farmers like Perry.

Perry has changed the way he grows his organic pumpkins. He's using drip irrigation so the water flows directly to the roots, as opposed to an all-sprinkler system. Perry said he's using 60 percent less water this way. But it's not enough to splurge on growing gigantic pumpkins.

It's been a tough season for growers hoping to squash records at the famous pumpkin contest in Half Moon Bay.

The drought isn't just affecting the size of pumpkins at many Bay Area farms, but growers are noticing more insects attacking their crop this year as well.

"We have a lot of squash bugs out here, and that's a big problem," said Perry. "They're looking for moisture, for water."

The Torres family came out to buy pumpkins. They say they'll have to settle for smaller pumpkins this year.

"We used to make a big mural out of them," said Thalia Torres. "We have a very artistic family, so the fact that the pumpkin doesn't serve as much of a canvas anymore -- it's kind of hard to make those same creations that we use to."