Pumpkin carving

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.

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While I was taking a break, my boyfriend finished carving a face on the “front” of the pumpkin.

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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.

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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.

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Unfortunately, it was hard to get a clear photo of the carved faces because there isn’t much contrast. Ironically, they’re on a Valentine’s themed plate. Oh well.

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I even tried to get it to light up! Once again, it was hard to get a clear photo because the face doesn’t have much contrast.

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The Mellowcreme Pumpkin that I carved in 2011.

The Allure of Halloween

I’ve always been somewhat fascinated with Halloween because it was forbidden in our household due to religious reasons. On Halloween night we would all hang out in a room at the back of the house, pretending to not be home, while there were kids outside engaging in some kind of “evil activity.” My mom would get me excused from the party and parade in the afternoon at school. When I was in third grade a classmate gave me a very hard time for that. She accused me of cutting class because I was leaving but wasn’t sick (I was ditching the party, for heavens sake), and even surmised that I hated candy since I wasn’t on a diet. (Kids can be so mean, but I digress.) I still got lots of candy from my mom and we had plenty of candy any time of year, so I didn’t really care much for the candy aspect of Halloween.

Carved Mellowcreme Pumpkin

I carved a mellowcreme pumpkin. (The mouth was the hardest.) I didn’t feel like hollowing it out, but maybe I will later if I’m bored. Yes, I play with my food, so what?

Now I see Halloween as just another commercialized holiday. The decorations are the ugliest out of any other holiday–come on, the rest of the year we’re trying to get rid of the spider webs–but I still find myself drawn to the little spooky towns in autumn sunset lighting (analogous to the jolly, snow-covered, light up Christmas villages). I wouldn’t actually want to own one, though. But I love that there are so many glow-in-the-dark things for Halloween.

I first wrote this post two years ago. This is the first year that I am out of my parents’ house on Halloween and have an outfit that could serve as a costume. (I’ve been wanting to dress up as a dominatrix for the past six years.  I don’t like any of the dominatrix costumes, though, so I wanted to put together my own. I also thought it would be funny to construct my whip out of licorice, so I’ll be the sweetest dominatrix out there! 😉 ) However, this year Halloween falls on a Thursday, and I have work the next day. Most people celebrated the weekend before, but I was moving.  I’m too old for trick-or-treating and I won’t be attending any parties. My costume definitely isn’t appropriate for me to wear to work! I also don’t think I’d be comfortable wearing it in public if I weren’t accompanied by my boyfriend. So once again, I won’t be celebrating Halloween.

These are some of my favorite Spooky Town displays:
Diane Greco 2008
Georganne Williams 2008

John and Joanne Kneski 2008

More can be found here.