I can't carve a pumpkin without my pumpkin carving kit. I balk when I think of how my sister, brother, Dad and I used to huddle on the garage floor in an Owen Sound autumn night and hack into our pumpkin with a steak knife from the kitchen drawer. No wonder I never created any jack-o-lantern masterpieces.
When Mark and I bought our house, I started to really carefully peruse the internet for intricate and complicated jack-o-lantern designs the week before Halloween. I would choose something challenging and then I'd pride myself on free-styling the design on the pumpkin and carving it up over the course of an evening. It was like magic when I flicked off the lights and the candle-light bled out through my carefully carved artistry.
Tonight, my standards were different. Cole is almost four years old. Amelia is one and a half. Cole wanted a very, very scary jack-o-lantern. He also wanted to design it himself. First he took a piece of orange construction paper and his box of markers. He stood ontop of a dining room chair and announced, with arms flailing emphatically, that he was going to make the SCARIEST pumpkin EVER! Then he scribbled and dotted the paper for about three seconds, demanded four pieces of scotch tape and then taped the paper to his face. After that, he asked for seventeen more pieces of paper and he taped the paper to the pumpkin.
As Mark and I were sitting down for our supper, he was asking if he could "grunch" the pumpkin. "We can carve the pumpkin after supper," I said.
After supper, I cut around the stem of the pumpkin as Cole stabbed the pumpkin with another pumpkin tool. Amelia attacked the baggy of pumpkin tools and I had to move them. We began scooping the seeds and guts out the pumpkin and Amelia tried to sit on it. Cole scooped some of the seeds out but refused to get his hands too dirty. Mark tried to take pictures but the kids wouldn't look at the camera. Amelia wanted to plunge her hands into the bowl of seeds and pumpkin-innards, so Mark took her into the living room and turned on the t.v.
And just like that, Cole abandoned me and went to join them. I found myself hunched on the kitchen floor hacking through a pumpkin thinking....just like last year.
But it wasn't entirely. Cole did return to add some finishing touches to the jack-o-lantern with his markers. And despite how crazy it now looks, I'm so glad it was a Cole-and-Mom masterpiece.
Gone are the days of careful, painstakingly detailed pumpkin carving. Upon us are the days of hurried, pumpkin hacking while minimizing mess, embracing creativity and celebrating new traditions.
(Yes, Cole's chin is stained orange.... not 100% sure what happened at school today, but I think it was festive.)