As Halloween approaches, the single most visible and popular symbol is the pumpkin. Or more commonly called, the jack-o-lantern.
Pumpkins are plucked from the vine, then spark into flaming life with leering faces, while leaves die on their branches in bursts of red and gold.
I took my nephew to a local produce stand looking for the perfect pumpkin. Later at home we washed and dried it. A slippery pumpkin would be hard to work with. We then spread newspapers under the pumpkin.
We decided to save the pumpkin seeds. No, we didn’t want to get ahead of next summer’s crop. My mother has a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds. She uses these toasted pumpkin seeds in breads or muffins, or just to eat as a snack.
The afternoon was turning out to be enjoyable up to this point. Other adults stopped by to visit. The little guy now had way too much help!
Uncle Bob thought it was silly that we carve out the jack-o-lantern. Why cut and clean out the pumpkin? He always painted faces on his pumpkins. “Oh no” says Aunt Linda. First you must decide on the face. Should it be scary? Happy? Silly? She made the little guy draw several rough drafts of his carving on paper first. Aunt Linda went inside and my nephew opted to draw on the pumpkin itself.
I always cut my jack-o-lanterns at the top. We begin to carve a circle around the stem to make a lid. My neighbor had stopped by. He always makes his cut on the pumpkin from the bottom. The neighbor leaves and we continue to carve from the top.
Suggestions were still flowing when my husband drove up and mentioned that we cut a hole in the center of the back of the pumpkin for ventilation.
Hopefully, next year we won’t have so much help. There was more to carving this pumpkin than first met the eye.
Regardless of the different opinions, we transformed an ordinary pumpkin into a magical, seasonal decoration with a frightful design. It should delight the neighborhood with Boo-tiful decorations for Halloween.
Nancee Harrison is a past columnist for the Greene County Daily World. Visit www.blondeladywithdarkroots.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or send comments to Nancee, Daily World, box 129 Linton IN 47441.