Things are scary enough these days without throwing goblins and witches into the mix, so Saturday's Halloween party at Rebecca Allen's house featured pumpkins as the main attraction. "The Great Pumpkin Challenge 2002" actually started this past spring, when Allen, a stay-at-home mom, took seeds from last year's pumpkin and passed them out to her friends. Everyone got 10 seeds and newsletters every few weeks explaining the art of growing a pumpkin. Pumpkins, it turns out, like milk, sour cream and yogurt in their soil. Some seeds were sterile; others produced ghastly imitations of a pumpkin. All the gourds were on display at the party, with more than 100 friends gathered at Allen's Vienna home.

Winners for ugliest, prettiest, biggest, heaviest, tallest and best-named pumpkin walked away with a six-pack of pumpkin ale. "I'm not a gardener," said Linda Teter, dressed as a rather bulky pumpkin. "So I thought, what can I do to compete?" Her costume won her "best reasonable facsimile." Best-in-show honors went to Kelly Norton-Gligorovic and her "Pumpsterone" -- a freakishly large, misshapen pumpkin complete with muscle shirt. "It's been given steroids -- that's cheating!" joked neighbor Stan Kylis, whose own seeds were eaten by a family of deer.

Guess we know where the Great Pumpkin is going this year.

Six-year-old Kayla Cox edges near the family of pumpkins. Below, from left, Emily and Maria Allen (with John Teter) give off gourd-geous smiles.