Fall is finally here—the leaves are changing, the birds are chirping, Twin Peaks fans are shopping for green blazers for Halloween, and the world is overrun by a seemingly endless array of pumpkin spice-flavored junk. And while fans of the flavor may collectively shell out hundreds of billions of dollars for that sweet, autumnal blend of pumpkin and nutmeg and cinnamon or whatever, not everyone is apparently as smitten with the spice.
On Thursday, a high school in Baltimore erupted into a full-on panic when a mysterious aroma filled the hallways—the sinister scent of pumpkin spice.
The "strange odor" first tickled the noses of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School on the third floor, according to the Baltimore Sun. "It was a smell that they certainly weren't used to," Cristo Rey president Bill Heiser said. "It appeared to be getting stronger."
More than 200 students and staff evacuated the building. Some said they were struggling to breathe, and five were rushed to a nearby hospital for supposed stomach problems. A hazmat team arrived at the scene in full Walter White cosplay to sweep the building for hazardous materials.
Upstairs, tucked away in a third-story classroom, they came across the aromatic culprit: one of those plug-in pumpkin spice air fresheners that apparently had an extremely strong scent.
The fire department opened up some windows around the school to get a nice cross-breeze and air the place out a bit, and then gave the kids the all-clear to get back to learning. Presumably whatever teacher thought it would be a nice idea to mask the odor of teen with a nice autumnal air freshener also got an embarrassing talking-to, too.
Cristo Rey students resumed business as usual at the school Friday morning, but those five people who were stricken with stomach problems should probably steer clear of Starbucks until at least after of Thanksgiving.