I have already established in this space my extreme dislike of the corn maze, and I was very heartened when you all responded with similar reactions.
So here’s another reason I hate the festival of fall: pumpkin carving. I just can’t believe the hassle factor, the yuck, the stink of a pumpkin once you actually get inside it.
When I was growing up, we’d each get a pumpkin from the supermarket and a black marker. My dad was probably the most into it of any of us; he’d give his pumpkin eyelashes and teeth and stuff. I stuck with the more traditional triangle-eye. But either way, it took us all about ninety seconds to be done with our jack-o-lanterns for another year, and they’d sit outside our back door for a nice long time, and that was the end of it. My husband thinks that’s sacrilege, but I just don’t have it in me to goop out the guts and roast the seeds for an entire autumn Saturday. I’d rather organize the kids’ sock drawers.
I did let the kids pick out pumpkins, of course, with vague promises to do something with them at some point, and definite plans not to. But Connor (at almost-nine) is old enough to organize certain family arts ‘n crafts projects without me, and last week, I came out to the kitchen to find this:
I wish I could tell you where the face pieces came from… I think Oriental Trading? They’re like Mr. Potato Head pieces that you just poke in. (Even faster and neater than Magic Marker.) But as you can see, Connor went one third-grade-boy step further: he made a big head gash in his pumpkin, stuck a butter knife inside it, and added some ketchup for gore.
He loved it. *I* loved it. It was a terrific jack-o-lantern with absolutely no effort on my part. No scooping out guts! No mess! Since we live in an apartment, we couldn’t put him on the porch to be seen by all– but Connor’s pumpkin found a place of honor right inside our front door.
Cut to: three days later.
SEAMUS: Mom, something smells.
MOM: Really? I don’t smell anything.
The next day:
MAGGIE: Mommy, it smells like stinky fish in here.
MOM: Does it?
The next day:
CONNOR: Mom, I’m going to move my pumpkin over here so–
The entire bottom of the long-rotted pumpkin came off, splattering moldy, rancid pumpkin guts all over our apartment. It was like that episode of Breaking Bad where the guts come through the ceiling. Only this was grosser.
Learn from our mistake: if you puncture a pumpkin, you’ve got no choice but to scoop out what’s inside. If you try to avoid that unpleasant chore, much greater unpleasantness awaits you.
Where do you stand on pumpkin carving?