When it's not busy being carved into a jack-o-lantern, a pumpkin is one of the most versatile things in the city. Jonathan Bender and Charles Ferruzza discovered an entire menu from, start to finish, inspired by the orange fruit.
10.) Pumpkin donut holes at Hy-Vee. The dense holes from the bakery are sugary, sweet and mini -- so it's not like eating a whole donut. Unless you consume a dozen, which is fairly easy.
9.) Pumpkin bisque at Souperman. The soups consistently rotate at this downtown staple, so call ahead to find if the slightly spicy and extremely filling bowl is on the menu that day.
8.) Seasonal pumpkin pancakes at the International House of Pancakes. They're back!
7.) Pumpkin pie concrete at Sheridan's. It's available through November -- it's like pumpkin pie in a cup, which is somehow warming despite the fact that it's frozen.
6.) The pumpkin seeds that line the Mexican chocolate cake with prickly pear sauce at West Side Local. They're technically a garnish, but they're the salty you want with sweets.
5.) Traditional pumpkin pie at The Village Inn.
4.) First-class pumpkin pie at The Pie Lady Coffeehouse.
3.) The Charlie Brown at Manifesto. This drink is still in the works at the Crossroads speakeasy as Ryan Maybee experiments with what works best with pumpkin puree. Ask for it by name or bide your time with a Cranberry Cobbler (fresh cranberries, lemon, orange, cinnamon and vodka).
2.) Pumpkin cheesecake or pumpkin pecan cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory. These creamy favorites return for the holiday season.
1.) Pumpkin donuts at Donut King. These are the best pumpkin doughnuts ever: moist, spicy, terrific with hot coffee. They stop selling them in late November, so don't waste time!
[Image via Flickr: ulterior epicure]