But this is a particularly good year to make sure you participate, because it truly almost didn't happen.
Back in August, the organizers announced that it was all over, that from now on we'd all be racing pumpkins on our local streets, no more organized or downtown action. (Our nomination: the Hill Section's steep 10th St. between John & Poinsettia – yowza!)
But the race and festival is back downtown, crisis averted. Just don't take it for granted. (And don't forget the fundraising Pier to Pier Friendship Walk on Sunday morning)
If you have no idea what we're talking about, refresh yourself on the pumpkin races:
Check out the official website for the pumpkin races and get ready to roll! Anyone can race 12pm-4pm to qualify for the elimination finals (4-6pm).
We love our pumpkin races, but we did recently learn of another kind. Up in Nova Scotia, for instance, they grow giant pumpkins, scoop them out and race them on a lake, like rowboats. Aw, crazy Canadians!
As usual, we appreciate it when readers share views on this week's featured properties. Let us know what you like, don't like or must have.
510 Poinsettia (5br/5ba, 4300 sq. ft.) doesn't show you much in the photos; you need a tour to get a good sense of this custom home.
The 2002 build is promised to be "timeless" by the listing, and it actually delivers nicely. The home has a distinctly warm feel to it, with lots of thoughtful and even whimsical extras that make it feel special. (For instance: reclaimed, imported brick floors in the kitchen, nice but not garish woodwork, snappy tiles here, little paint flourishes there.)
As with many ocean-view homes, this one sports an "upside-down" layout, with 4 of the 5 bedrooms downstairs.
No doubt, Poinsettia is one of the busier streets in the Hills, and for some that will be a turnoff. It's also not quite high enough up the hill to grab the most spectacular views, but what this one gets is pretty good. Check it out.
510 Poinsettia starts at $3.499m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.
224 21st St. (3br/3ba, 1650 sq. ft.) is a mid-1980s Spanish TH, west of Highland with some ocean views from the top-level balcony.
You have to focus on 2 of those descriptors: 1980s and Spanish. The home will need updates, particularly to the kitchen and baths. Hardwood floors instead of carpet would be nice, too. The Spanish style on the outside carries inside in some ways, like the exposed-wood beams in the living room, divided wood windows (no plastic!) and curved arches. Any remodel is probably going to run with this style even while updating it.
One plus to the layout is that all 3br are together on the midlevel. There's 3-car parking plus storage and laundry on the lowest level. Up top, of course, is kitchen, dining and living space – a goodly amount of space, though walls define different areas a bit for you.
224 21st St. starts at $1.399m, quite good in relation to much of the current TH inventory.
However, comparably sized TH very nearby, 216 21st Place (3br/4ba, 1845 sq. ft.) recently closed at the fire-sale price of $1.295m. That one was newer by 10 years (1994 build) and, while a bit blank and needing an update here or there, seemed to have a bigger, more open top floor and certainly boasts better views – for now, at least, until a neighboring home gets built up. Obviously, 21st Place is an alley rather than a street, but there's no doubt that sale is a drag on all west-of-Highland THs, particularly one a mere stone's throw away.
224 21st St. is at $1.399m and is open Sun. 2-4pm.
544 3rd St. (5br/5ba, 3800 sq. ft.) in the South End is open again.
We haven't posted a formal review, though some readers have traipsed through the new Cape Cod and offered opinions.
The home offers a midfloor great room with attractive plank flooring and a classic, beachy feel. There's a little patio/yard off the back, somewhat unusual and nice to get.
On the garage level, there's a great coat rack and shoe storage area with a bench. Though it looks a little bit formal now, we couldn't help but imagine rash guards, towels and flip-flops hanging and strewn about, with the floor just a bit sandy. The real bonus downstairs is the big media room with bar and other built-ins.
544 3rd is at $2.975m and is open Sun. 1-4pm.
763 31st is a home MBC called "a custom masterpiece" when it hit the market last year. From last year's review:
The home's big, but not overly so at 5br/5ba, 3575 sq. ft. (If you want that 5th bedroom you'll have to dismantle the terrific office up at the front of the house off the entry)
The inspired, timeless European design puts to shame a thousand "Mediterraneans" that you've seen before. The home's 10 years old, but it could be 3 years or 310 years old and you could believe it either way. Open-beam ceilings lining the dramatic living/dining area are classy, with the same attractive, woodsy ceilings dressing up the master.
A spacious, modern kitchen has all the must-have features and could accommodate a catering crew easily if you're entertaining.
Homes on the north side of 31st tend not to have yards or much open space, but the courtyard off the first level here is somewhat bigger than expected.
After seeking $3.295m last year, 763 31st is still aiming high at $2.890m.
763 31st is open Sun. 12-4pm.
1 Evergreen Ln. (4br/3ba, 2400 sq. ft.) marks MBC's first official tour in Manhattan Village. If we were going to do it some day, this was a good place to start.
Evergreen is a corner unit with a wide swath of grass and tall, mature trees outside. Inside, it is fully updated – a complete re-do completed in just the last few years. With attractive wood floors, a modern kitchen and nicely outfitted baths, you might pick this for newer construction if not for some aspects of the build and layout. (Sunken living room, we're talking to you.)
The kitchen and formal dining areas have lots of (divided) windows opening to the side yard and back patio. Plenty bright. Upstairs, amid the 3 substantial bedrooms is a nice, if slightly compact, sunroom/office with a southwest exposure that would make for a truly great place to tinker or even work for long stretches. The most notable layout quirk – touted as a "special feature" in the listing – is the downstairs master just off the great room and connected to the patio.
We're told that there are just 14 of these "Plan 8F" townhomes in the Village, and that there's competition whenever they pop up. In fact, this one was subject to a little bidding war in 2005, when it came out at $1.275m and sold for $1.340m. It was tired and imperfect then, before this pricey and precise remodel was done.
1 Evergreen Ln. starts at $1.249m – the remodel is being donated by the seller – and is open Sun. 1-4pm.