JOHNSTON, IA—In a difficult and emotionally taxing rite of passage, local farmer’s child Owen Morrison, 10, was reportedly forced Thursday to slaughter a pumpkin he had spent all season caring for. “I’ve been looking after this sweet little guy for months, and I really love it, but dad says we need to butcher it if we want to survive the next season,” said a sniffling Owen, as he tearfully gave the 10-pound gourd, which he had named “Jack,” its favorite fertilizer as a last meal. “I asked dad if we could just keep this one, but he said no. Poor little thing has no idea what’s about to happen. I hate you, dad, I hate you!” At press time, Owen couldn’t make eye contact as he turned the pumpkin away toward the horizon and slit its stem.