Last year after a bit of a chaotic fall, we took a hiatus from carving pumpkins. The kids were slightly disappointed but their overabundance of Hallowe’en candy eased the pain, their sorrow was short-lived. I may have actually missed carving the pumpkins more than the kids so this year, I was intent on accomplishing our ghoulish goals. One of my kids and I carefully selected shiny, orange pumpkins, we all discussed designs, weighed the options, and I sharpened my knives. I was pretty excited. I mean, for the kids’ sake, of course.
I’ve always appreciated a good pumpkin specimen and had a pretty large pumpkin patch when I was a kid. I used to grow so many pumpkins I sold them to a nearby grocery store, back before marketing products from gate-to-plate was even a “thing.” I sold small pumpkins for a dollar, medium-sized pumpkins for two, and three bucks would get you a nice, large pumpkin. Of course, being a little kid, I needed some level of support from an adult for my entrepreneurial adventure. My mom possessed an ever-useful drivers’ license, which was instrumental in getting the pumpkins from the origin to my market destination. She graciously donated a large portion of her garden in a prime low-lying area toward my cause, and probably more time than I actually realized as well.
My pumpkin patch gradually dwindled over the years, probably following a drought and I returned to growing pumpkins simply for my own decorating purposes. As I got older, I created spider webs, bats, cows, scary faces, black cats and full moons in my little round pumpkins. I preferred to concentrate my efforts on the impractical, never actually creating any useful like a pie or a loaf. Even in university, somewhere between mid-terms and Ag Bag Drag, my cousin and I would carve out time in our schedules to cut up a pumpkin or two. Come to think of it, most of my carving memories really came from adulthood.
This year, specifically for my kids’ enjoyment only (not mine, I swear!), we cut the tops off our pumpkins and scooped the seeds out, elbow-deep in orange slime. Not one to let children play with knives, I set forth cutting their designs out under careful supervision. One pumpkin was carved into a traditional jack-o-lantern, one was carved into a Ninja Turtle, and I carefully cut Cinderella and Prince Charming in a carriage on the third one. It was a tedious process, one that even extended over a couple of days, but I gave it my best effort. For the kids.
In one last selfless act of parenthood, I ruffled through their total mixed ration of Hallowe’en treats after the little gaffers were asleep. I took it upon myself to sort out a few goodies I deemed inappropriate for their tender, young palettes. You know, really bad things like M&M’s, rockets, full-sized chocolate bars, and licorice. I disposed of the excess sugar carefully, one treat at a time, until all I had left was a small pile of wrappers. Someone had to do it. For the sake of the children.