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Animal Crossing players are already prepped for the pumpkin patch

Autumn in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is just days away

An Animal Crossing human watching a pumpkin patch Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons players are saying goodbye to their community swimming pools and cliffside diving spots. That’s because Nintendo is updating New Horizons on Sept. 30 with an autumn- and Halloween-themed patch, bringing a host of new, seasonal activities to the game.

Players have been eager for new content, growing tired of diving for pearls and oysters. So they’ve taken to clearing out space on their islands, creating seasonally appropriate areas to make immediate use of the game’s new features. For many players, that means converting former summer fun spaces to pumpkin patches. Though a bunch of fall-themed decorations — and the pumpkins themselves! — have yet to come to the game, players are making do with what they have: creating pumpkin signage and existing items in creative ways.

For some, this means a massive island overhaul. But for others, it’s finding a quiet, small spot tucked away between some trees.

One of my personal favorite innovations is how cleverly players are using random items, like hats on hat stands, to mimic the look of pumpkins. It’s an ingenious way to design a farm — and players have been using tricks like this for a while now, even before pumpkins were announced for New Horizons.

As for the Halloween lovers playing New Horizons, they’ve always been ready. Players have been using similar methods — like the hat on hat stand pumpkins — to create horror settings in New Horizons since the game was first released earlier this year. Horror lovers didn’t need a reason to splatter blood all over their islands — for them, New Horizons was always a horror game. Using items supplied by Nintendo, YouTube creator Evil Imp even created a horror movie trailer that’s seriously unsettling.

With New Horizons’ Sept. 30 update, Nintendo is adding new undead skin tones and Halloween costumes, which should certainly help up the creep factor. My suggestion? Bring back Zipper if you really want to scare people.