Stranger Things Season 2 shows a lot of weird stuff still going down in Hawkins, Indiana. But one of the strangest things is happening at the local farms has to do with the spookiest gourd: What is wrong with the pumpkins in Stranger Things? This becomes a central mystery when multiple patches of the gourd start to go rotten. First, it seems to be only one farm whose crop has been tainted, but soon it seems that every pumpkin in Hawkins has rotted prematurely — in the single most important pumpkin month of the year, no less. This being Stranger Things, the pumpkins aren't simply poisoned by rival farmers, as many of the affected parties seem to believe. Any questions about what is happening to the pumpkins in Hawkins could cause someone to stumble upon the unique nature of the town and the strange experiments that occur nearby.
Chief Hopper, who rarely had to worry about crimes more severe than neighborly disputes prior to Season 1 of Stranger Things, originally doesn't pay much attention to a rotted field. He starts to suspect that something especially suspicious is happening when it turns out that nearly all the crops in Hawkins are rotting. This leads him to go digging in a patch in the middle of the night, which leads to the shocking truth about what is keeping vegetables from growing in Hawkins.
SPOILERS FOR STRANGER THINGS SEASON 2: Like many of the bizarre things that happen in Hawkins, the mysterious case of the rotting pumpkins is related to the Upside Down. Despite it being a full year since the events of Season 1, it looks like Hawkins won't be free from the threat of this mysterious parallel world any time soon. After digging deep enough into the pumpkin patch, Hopper soon discovers that there is a tunnel beneath it, and that these tunnels feature the same mysterious floating specks and slimy surfaces that define the Upside Down.
The tunnels seem to stretch throughout the town of Hawkins, and are covered in mysteriously living vines — or possibly tentacles — indicating that the tunnel itself may be a living thing. While the biggest supernatural threat of Season 1 was the Demogorgon, Season 2 features the threat of a towering shadow monster that seems to be planting roots in Hawkins. The only reason that Hopper even finds the tunnels is because of the frantic scribblings of Will Byers, who can't stop drawing after he becomes possessed by the giant shadow creature. It's almost as if the Shadow Monster wanted the tunnel system to be found. The rotting pumpkins are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the effects that this shadowy presence has on the town.
While Stranger Things Season 1 presented supernatural elements like the Demogorgon and the Upside Down as possibly temporary presences in the town of Hawkins, Season 2 proves that Hawkins and the Upside Down are linked for good. Even if Hopper is able to determine the reason for the tunnels beneath the pumpkin patch, there is no guarantee that the infected land will ever be fertile again. Besides — why else would scientists build a mysterious lab conducting supernatural experiments in this town if it wasn't a hotbed for paranormal occurrences?
Only time will tell if Hawkins ever manages to go back to normal — assuming this mysterious town was ever normal in the first place. The rotting of the pumpkin patches is far from the strangest thing to happen in Stranger Things, but it hints that Hawkins may never be free from the looming presence of the Upside Down. From slimey vine creatures to towering shadow beasts to demodogs, the town has a lot more to worry about than just rotting gourds.