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Mel's Combines Pumpkin Decorating with Charity

Mel's Commonwealth Cafe is decked out for Halloween, but the pumpkins are more than just restaurant decor.

A trip to Mel's Commonwealth Cafe right now reveals a fascinating display not of pies, but of pumpkins.

Through Oct. 20, Mel's is conducting a pumpkin decorating contest that has already generated entries such a cat with candy corn fur, a gourd suspiciously resembling Homer Simpson and even a pumpkin witch.

The restaurant is inviting people to decorate pumpkins and drop them off for display through Oct. 20. On Saturday, the pumpkins will be judged and winners chosen.

The two top prizes are a $50 Toys 'R Us gift card and a $50 Mel's gift card. Paul Bloomstein, owner and general manager at Mel's, said he has a secret third prize in mind as well that will be revealed later.

The pumpkin contest is the brainchild of Connie Ferrari, a longtime Mel's employee. Ferrari even jumped into the fun herself, designing a chef pumpkin in honor of the restaurant's own kitchen master.

"It's just something fun to do," Ferrari said. "It gets some buzz out there."

Ferrari explained that Mel's will donate the pumpkins to area charities and nursing homes once the contest ends.

Pumpkins can be dropped off until Oct. 20.

Do you have a favorite from among those we photographed? Tell us in the comments!

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