I grew up not celebrating Halloween, for religious reasons, as I have written about before. I don’t remember why, but one year my sister and I tried carving a pumpkin when we were very little. I may have been five or six years old, or even younger. We used one of those standard serrated pumpkin carving knives for kids, but I remembered it not being useful (or maybe we weren’t strong enough back then, or both). Then when I was in 4th grade every kid had to bring a pumpkin in to class to do all sorts of measurements with (find the weight, circumference, does it sink or float). We also needed to count the seeds. I don’t remember if I cut it open myself or if I got help from someone else, but I did not carve the pumpkin afterward.
This year I felt like getting a pumpkin to carve. I think of pumpkin carving as an art, so it doesn’t have to be something spooky (translate: ugly), and wanted to give it a try. I wasn’t sure what design to do. A generic Jack-o’-lantern face seemed too unoriginal for me, but since this would be the second time I’ve ever carved a pumpkin, I was thinking I should stick to something simple, and not try something too ambitious until I’ve gotten the hang of it.
Since my boyfriend has more pumpkin carving experience than I do, he started the process of opening up the pumpkin and removing the flesh and seeds. The pumpkin that we got is slightly lopsided, so one side looked better for carving than the other. He carved out a small triangle, for an eye. Upon seeing that, I felt inclined to carve a line of triangles that alternated point up and point down. I wasn’t sure if I would do the inverse below that, or if I could carve patterns of other shapes below, so I took a break, since my hand was getting sore. Carving pumpkins takes a lot of strength (or maybe needs a super sharp knife). After my break, I ended up doing the inverse of the pattern.
While I was taking a break, my boyfriend finished carving a face on the “front” of the pumpkin.
During the carving process, we tested how it looked by putting a LED tea light candle inside, but after we were done, we put in two actual tea lights inside.
After this experience, I’m not sure if I want to keep carving pumpkins. I might stick to carving candy pumpkins. This year, I carved pumpkin-shaped jelly candies. They’re stickier and softer than mellowcreme (the stuff that mellowcreme pumpkins and candy corn are made out of), so it didn’t turn out as well defined as my carved mellowcreme pumpkin.