Pumpkin Spice Power (and Free Unit Study)

Pumpkin Spice Everything

Food trends come and go, but few have captured the hearts and taste buds of people quite like the pumpkin spice craze. As soon as the leaves start to change and the air turns crisp, pumpkin spice lattes, pies, and even cereal start appearing on menus and store shelves everywhere. But what's behind this autumnal obsession? I really became intrigued with this on a cross country car trip where I was binging podcasts and happened upon 20 Years of Pumpkin Spice Power.

I’m not a fan of cinnamon so I’ve just let this craze sweep by me, but the podcast captured my attention! Are you ready to dive into the world of food trends and explore the pumpkin spice phenomenon? And while we're at it, we've added a fun unit study for your highschoolers to embark upon because who doesn't love learning about food? And learning together makes it that much more enjoyable!

The Pumpkin Spice Mania

Pumpkin spice, a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and sometimes allspice, has become synonymous with fall in North America. It's not just about the flavor; it's about the whole experience that comes with it. Pumpkin spice embodies the coziness, warmth, and nostalgia of autumn. The pumpkin spice trend can be seen as a perfect storm of flavors and marketing, leading to a seasonal obsession.

This amazing list of easy dinners will help you find something to put on the table TONIGHT with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Old faves made even easier, new ideas to try -- all of them are SO easy and inexpensive, and you can fill a whole month's menu plan right now!

30 Ridiculously Easy Dinners!

Do you hate cooking like I do? Do you actually like cooking but never have time to do it?? Are you a homeschool mom, or a working mom, or the family bus driver, or a mom of littles — or ALL OF THE ABOVE?? Or just a mom who likes to be efficient with her time and not do any more work than is necessary — so you have more time to read do other things?


The Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) from Starbucks is often credited with popularizing the trend in the early 2000s, but it's since exploded into a multi-billion-dollar industry, with countless products and imitators trying to cash in on the seasonal craze. From candles and air fresheners to dog treats and even deodorant and trash bags, pumpkin spice has taken over virtually every aspect of consumer life.

But what makes this trend so appealing, and why does it happen every year like clockwork? This is where our homeschool high school study project comes into play.

Pumpkin Spice Unit Study

Objective: To understand the cultural, culinary, and business aspects of the pumpkin spice trend.


  • Access to the internet and a local library.
  • Notebooks or digital documentation tools.
  • A willingness to explore and taste various pumpkin spice products.

Study Steps:

History and Origins

Begin by researching the history of pumpkin spice. What are the origins of this flavor blend? How did it become so closely associated with fall? Create a timeline and historical context.

Culinary Exploration

Get hands-on with cooking and baking. Try out a few classic pumpkin spice recipes like pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin spice cookies. Go bold and discover if you can create a PSL that rivels Starbucks. Document the process, and note the significance of these recipes in American culture.

Marketing and Branding

Investigate the marketing strategies behind the pumpkin spice craze. Look into the history of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte and how it has evolved over the years. Analyze how other brands use seasonal trends to boost sales.

Consumer Behavior

Conduct surveys or interviews with friends and family to understand their thoughts and feelings about pumpkin spice products. Do they look forward to these items every fall? What emotions do these products evoke?


Research the economic impact of the pumpkin spice trend. Calculate the revenue generated by various companies during the fall season due to pumpkin spice products. Explore the supply chain and seasonal employment related to this trend.

Cultural Significance

Dive into the cultural aspect of pumpkin spice. What does it symbolize for people? How does it tie into traditions like Thanksgiving and Halloween? Examine how pumpkin spice products fit into the larger cultural landscape.

Creative Expression

Encourage students to express their findings creatively. They could write a short story or poem inspired by pumpkin spice, create artwork, or even produce a short documentary, or reel! 

It's Not Just About Flavor!

The pumpkin spice obsession is not just about a flavor; it's about a sensory experience that has deep cultural and economic roots. By embarking on this study project, homeschool high schoolers can gain valuable insights into the world of food trends, culinary traditions, and the power of marketing. Whether you're sipping a pumpkin spice latte or baking pumpkin spice cookies, remember that there's a rich history and culture behind this beloved fall flavor. So, dive in, explore, and enjoy the pumpkin spice season to its fullest!

Lisa Nehring
Let's Connec

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