October. For UCSB students, it is a month of play along the Pacific, panic over ParScores and of course, plenty of parties. But it seems one more iconic addition is missing in this autumnal alliteration: the pumpkin.

This symbolic squash is the undisputed champion of October, seen throughout supermarkets, highways and oceanside porches. While the enjoyable traditions of choosing your jack-o’-lantern pattern, holding carving parties with friends and (drunkenly) throwing your neighbor’s creative masterpiece in the roadway are routinely celebrated, UCSB students may be missing out on the many valuable nutritional benefits that pumpkins have to offer.

This low calorie squash is an antioxidant powerhouse, full of alpha carotene and beta carotene and known to promote healthy vision and slow the aging process. Additionally, studies indicate that diets rich in this delectable gourd can curb appetites, allowing for more food with minimal calorie intake. In addition, pumpkin stores vitamins A, B5, C and E, all of which have shown to aid the body in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of high blood pressure, managing stress and supporting healthy immune systems. The tasty fruit is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, key minerals and unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3.

But you’re not going to get these benefits from carving, smashing or baking these babies into pie! Luckily, On the Menu has included some recipes to satisfy your hankering for this nutritional wonder.

So go ahead; whip up some healthy, stress-free pumpkin-stuffed shells as a celebratory end-of-midterm treat. Or better yet, make a pot of pumpkin chili and save some for a late-night studying snack. It pairs great with the pumpkin cornbread and your favorite seasonal brew (Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale, anyone?).

Too much pumpkin? It’s October, get in the spirit ya’ Grinch.

-Connor Kampff