Enough With the Pumpkin-Scented Fall Candles

I need to get a personal opinion off my chest: I can't stand pumpkin-scented candles. I know, I know — variations of this particular scent probably account for more than half of Big Candle's yearly profits, meaning most folks are a fan, but I am decidedly not one of them.

My aversion to pumpkin candles recently reached its peak. Allow me to set the scene. It was a steamy Saturday afternoon in August, and I stopped by Marshalls to replenish my candle collection. (Let's be real — you can't beat those prices.) While still several aisles away from the home decor section, my nostrils were assaulted with the unmistakable aroma of pumpkin overload.

Cluttering the shelves were rows upon rows of orange jars labeled with countless takes on pumpkin. Alongside the usual suspects — pumpkin spice, pumpkin pie — were a few unexpected offerings like pumpkin soy latte (because how dare my candle contain cow's milk in 2023?) and white pumpkin (orange pumpkins be damned).

Growing dizzy over the cloying smell, I thought to myself, "It's 80-something degrees outside. What's a gal gotta do to get her hands on a linen-scented candle in the middle of summer?" Turns out that's become a tall order these days, because stores are seemingly on a mission to shove all things fall and Halloween up our nasal passages earlier and earlier each year.

Autumnal capitalism aside, pumpkin and its various inspired scents are wholly unappealing to me. As someone with a sensitive nose that could detect a burnt piece of toast from a mile away, pumpkin candles are consistently too overpowering and sickly sweet, no matter the brand.

To be fair, I'm not asking for pumpkin candles to be canceled entirely — that would make me the Grinch of fall. I just wish there was a bit more variation among the seasonal offerings. For every pumpkin-pecan-waffle scent, there should be a low-key apple or an understated cinnamon, but right now, the scales are tipping way more in favor of the orange gourd. The pumpkin fixation has gotten out of hand, and we need more balance.

After parsing through hoards of headache-inducing candles at Marshalls for what felt like an hour, I did finally secure a few nonfall scents, but I left the store with a renewed aversion to the pumpkin-ification of fall. While you cozy up with your toasted-vanilla-pumpkin-marshmallow candle, I'll be happily watching "Hocus Pocus" for the 27th time with a musky bergamot candle lit nearby.