A (Somewhat) Objective Analysis of Pumpkin Spice: A Comprehensive Guide to the Debate, the Products, and a Photo Gallery Guaranteed to Make You Laugh (Regardless of your PS Position)

To Pumpkin Spice or not to Pumpkin Spice? That is the question.

Pumpkin spice. Oh yes, you’ve heard of it. And maybe it makes you so excited you could scream. Or maybe it makes you so angry steam comes out of your ears. There’s no doubt that it’s certainly a Fall flavor, but especially recently, the popularity and mass marketing of Pumpkin spice has brought some heated opinions out. I’ve made it my mission today to discuss all things Pumpkin Spice, bringing you a comprehensive look at the current status of our public consumer mindset. Like pumpkin spice or not, you’ll want to read on. If you don’t laugh at some point in here, I owe you a PSL.

First things first, the proliferation. Why have we been inundated with Pumpkin Spice every single time Fall rolls around? Mass marketing seems to have latched on to the classic flavor as their main selling point for all things Fall-related. Thus, pumpkin spice seems to be everywhere. And every year, products get released earlier and earlier. It leaves some questioning if we’ve gone a little too overboard on our PS addiction. Does the extensive proliferation take away from its integrity?

Thinking back to a few years ago, the Pumpkin Spice debate was a nonissue. It really didn’t begin until the release and immense popularity of one specific item. Yep, you guessed it! The PSL. Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. A warm, pumpkin-pie spiced sugary drink foamy with cream and sprinkled with nutmeg. It quickly became hugely popular, both for its flavor and also “limited Fall availability.” Hence, when stores stopped selling it once Fall was over, it devastated its loyal addicts.


All year their anxiety continued to build until it was Fall once again, and demand for the PSL just seemed to grow and grow. Customers crammed in as many lattes as they could before the season was over yet again. Capitalizing on this, Starbucks started releasing the PSL earlier and earlier each year, and building the hope up prior to its release more and more. It’s now at the point where I started reading news articles announcing the PSL 2016 release date a month before it even happened. Insanity! This year, September 1 was the kick-off of the season. Compare that to the 8th just last year. But if you’re a “loyal” customer, you may have even gained exclusive access as early as August 25. Yes, you read that right. Because there’s nothing quite like a steamy warm drink to heat you up as you bake poolside in the late August sun. Err, right?

Still, the PSL is just one product. It almost seems reasonable, if it stayed limited to just the drink. Perhaps even something to look forward to each year. But now, we fear two-hour long Starbucks lines and addicts with latte foam coming out of their ears and nutmeg dandruff. Why? How could one item cause that much damage?

The answer lies in the clever nature of business-hungry corporations. They took advantage of the PSL, deciding that if the population wanted a drink that much, then they clearly wanted everything “Pumpkin spice” that much. Candles, cookies, cake mix, Chap-stick, lotion, shampoo, air freshener, and more took Starbucks’ cue and released limited edition PS products.


As is the nature of the consumer, the market boomed. Honing in on the fact that they’re offering a certain item for only a “limited time,” businesses appeal to our society’s constant need to be up to date. When we focus on something, we want all of something, to the point of that something going totally overboard. It’s quite effective though, because Pumpkin Spice does sell. A lot. So each year that “limited time” has been stretched out longer and longer, starting earlier and earlier. Because we’re so gullible, we keep buying and buying, so profits only increase.


What decreases is the integrity of the product. Of the scent. Of PUMPKIN SPICE. It’s being overused, overworked, and abused. How can it truly define fall if it starts coming out in August?


Herein lies our dilemma. Too much of a good thing equals craziness. Obsession. And along with obsession, weirdness. A lot of weirdness. Just take a look at this list of items I found when I searched “pumpkin spice food”:

  • Cake mix     pillsbury-pumpkin-cake-mix
  • Cookie mix     betty-pumpkin-spice-cookie-mix
  • Tomato sauce flavor  tumblr_nbm191fpdp1rp69zso1_500
  • Jello flavor  43000340578
  • Tea  stashtea_2067_71193134
  • K-cups/ground coffee s1004313_sc7
  • Granola bars ksh-03012-1
  • Coffee creamer  0005000088600_500x500
  • Lil’ Debbie rolls lildeb
  • Peeps landscape-1438799607-peepsr-pumpkin-spice-chicks
  • Milano cookies milano
  • Ice cream  icecream
  • Muffin mix muffin
  • Cream cheese creamcheese
  • Granola  granola
  • Cinnamon rolls  cinnamonroll
  • English muffins  englishmuff
  • Eggnog  eggnong
  • Nutria-grain bars  nutrigrain
  • Candied nuts image
  • Special K cereal  specialk
  • Cheerios  1x-1
  • Yogurt covered pretzels pretzels
  • Chobani chbani
  • Sliced cinnamon swirl bread swirlbread
  • Gouda cheese gouda
  • Chicken sausage  pumpchxsaus
  • Scones scones
  • Pumpkin butter  butter
  • Flavored chocolate chips chocchip
  • Krispy Crème donuts  krispykreme
  • Dunkin donuts  dunkin
  • Baileys  baileys
  • Triscuit  triscuit
  • Oatmeal  oatmeal
  • Lindor truffles  lindor
  • Tortilla chips tortillachips
  • Salsa  salsa
  • Marshmallows  marshmallow
  • Mini wheats miniwheat
  • Bagels  bagel
  • Pancake mix   pancake
  • Keebler fudge stripe cookies  keebler
  • Potato chips  potatochip
  • Peanut butter  peanutbutter
  • M&Ms  mms
  • Poptarts  poptart
  • Beer  beer
  • Chocolate  chocolate
  • Hummus  bn-fs826_1125pk_p_20141125153646
  • Gum  54f95cd231711_-_extra-pumpkin-spice-de-del0814
  • Eggo waffles  eggo
  • Liquid stevia  stevia
  • Protein powder  protein
  • Milk  milk
  • Candy corn  candycorn
  • Pringles  pringles
  • Fettuccine  fettuccini
  • Vodka  vodka
  • Oreo  oreo

And that’s not even all of it! I mean, Gouda? Salsa? Triscuits? Seriously?

Don’t even get me started on the plethora of non-edible items, including:

  • Halloween costumes  costume
  • Candles  candle
  • Lotions, sprays, shampoos  lotion
  • Air fragrances  airfresh
  • Decorative mugs and  Graphic T-Shirtsif_loving_pumpkin_spice_is_wrong_coffee_mug-raad8ef91d5f84a78a51a9e7ba3efeb3c_x7jgr_8byvr_324
  • Soaps soap
  • Nail polish colors  nailpolish
  • Cat litter  catster-pumpkin-spice-7

Dare I continue?

Needless to say, we’ve gone a little Pumpkin Spice crazy. Now, I’m not 100% a critic. I do actually like Pumpkin Spice, but I like to consider myself below addict status. Granted, I tried the cookie mix and it was actually quite delicious. I’ll stock up on granola bars, tea, and coffee, and it never hurts to have a witty coffee mug saying “pumpkin spice and everything nice” on it and lovely candles burning in the house, but I draw the line at some point.

Love the pumpkin, but not that much. You won’t catch me whipping up pumpkin spice Gouda cheese on pumpkin spice triscuit crackers with a side of pumpkin spice tortilla chips dipped in pumpkin hummus and pumpkin spice salsa while drinking pumpkin spice coffee laced with pumpkin spice stevia and pumpkin spice creamer. While my cat casually uses a pumpkin spice kitty litter scented box in the background. And I try not to ruin my freshly painted pumpkin spice colored toenails. No way.

So part of Fall is deciding your Pumpkin Spice addict status, on a scale of 1-10. Ten being at risk of turning into a pumpkin yourself, one being a PSL once a month. Negatives are allowed, however.

The debate is real. It’s time to take a stand. Where do you fall on the PS Spectrum?

And to end this enlightening post, take a few minutes to scroll through these photos. You won’t be disappointed.


It’s the fate of the pumpkins


For the spice lovers out there!


It definitely feels like it…


Peaceful protest. It’s the way to go.


What is the Autumnal Equinox after all?

"We're the three wise baristas bearing gifts of pumpkin spice, peppermint mocha, and eggnog latte."

Really, as long as you’ve got Starbucks, miracles can happen.



PSL everywhere.



Out with the old, in with the…Pumpkin SPice?


Does this count as cannibalism?


Never too many Pumpkin Spice jokes.



They say you are what you eat…


We know, You like pumpkin. Please, limit the sharing of your love on social media.



Classic Oprah. SO generous.



Once upon a time, there was a cat. He was forced to use pumpkin spice cat litter…



Cheers! (Can’t you just see me holding up my PSL to toast you?)



*Certified Pumpkin Spice Expert*







One thought on “A (Somewhat) Objective Analysis of Pumpkin Spice: A Comprehensive Guide to the Debate, the Products, and a Photo Gallery Guaranteed to Make You Laugh (Regardless of your PS Position)

  1. Jackie Lillo says:

    Love your writing. I never liked pumpkin spice but I think you might have turned me into a fan. See you at Starbucks. Have a great day. Thanks for making me smile. With love

    Liked by 1 person

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