Seven sympathy gifts for anyone who just learned the truth about canned pumpkin

Help them squash the pain.

Sorry to break the news, but that pumpkin pie you’ve been looking forward to this fall? It’s really a squash pie. Take a close look at that canned pumpkin and you’ll see that the tasty orange puree consists of one or more types of winter squash, including butternut, Hubbard, and golden delicious. (Libby’s by Nestle is an exception: It’s made of Cucurbita moschata, a Central American vegetable that looks like a squash but is deemed a pumpkin.) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lets all this slide, citing the lack of a clear scientific divide between squash and pumpkins.

This may be little comfort for purists—but thankfully, you can still pay homage with our list of eight pumpkin-related gifts that are useful in a myriad of ways.

Pumpkin-scented home bundle

Channel pumpkin powers to fight bacteria with these Meyer’s pumpkin-scented products, consisting of dish soap, hand soap, multi-surface solution, and a soy candle. If your household smells like pie, maybe you can continue living in ignorance?

Pumpkin spice toilet paper

Use this on-theme toilet paper to wipe away the tears that won’t quit falling. The cardboard roll (not the absorbent itself) is coated in essential oils that are approved for general skincare application.

Pumpkin eye gel patch

Try a face mask that’s formulated with pumpkin-ferment extract to help fend off flaky or dry skin.

Pumpkin-shaped pie plate

Split the difference by serving your squash pie on a pumpkin-shaped dish. The stoneware is a little under 10 inches across, which measures out to about eight slices for you, yourself, and maybe two other loved ones.

Pumpkin pie Kit Kats

They only come around once a year, so stock up for your home and the trick-or-treaters. Pumpkin-flavored Kit Kats are the perfect blend between everyone’s favorite seasonal flavor and wafer-y, crunchy chocolate.

Pumpkin spice cocktail mix

Learning the truth about canned pumpkin is a tough pill to swallow, but this alcoholic accessory might help wash it down. The cinnamon, clove, and cardamom mix goes well with tequila or citrus-flavored liquors.

Pumpkin and squash print

Curious Print Pattern pumpkin and squash drawing
Curious Print Pattern pumpkin and squash drawing Courtesy of Etsy

A handmade chart that displays the Cucurbita family’s variety is the next best thing to a full-on field guide. Get some help sifting through the varieties at your local farmers’ market—or making your own puree at home.


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Grace Wade


Grace Wade is a health reporter for New Scientist focused on neuroscience, mental health, nutrition and the gut microbiome. Previously she worked as an associate features editor for and an associate health editor for Insider. She was also a contributor and fact-checker for Popular Science covering wildlife, the environment and health. Grace holds a dual degree in journalism and science in human cultures with a concentration in environment, science and society from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is also a photographer specializing in film, landscapes and portraits.