Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Carving Out Time for Halloween

I always got a little offended when people would tease me about first birthday parties being more about the mother than the child.  I still maintain that I reeled it in and didn't let any of my boys' parties become about me, but after this Halloween, I see the potential.

I've somehow inserted myself into Halloween.

HalloMEen, perhaps.

It's just... pumpkins.  I love them.  I love to display them.  I love to have a variety.  I love the smell.  I love the mental image they evoke.  And I really, really, love carving them.

I consider it just another extension of my creativity, just as I enjoy decorating my boys' cakes and creating our Christmas cards each year.  The difference is that, in years past, I would carve a pumpkin for each of the boys depicting whatever animal, vegetable, or mineral that captured their fancy.  They were too young to use a sharp knife and I still felt that this event was completely about their experience.

Over time, however, I discovered that I was kind of good at it.  Or maybe I'm not that good, but I am willing to dedicate six hours to one gourd, so that's got to be worth something.

For the last several years, I've been less receptive to traditional jack 'o lantern faces and more excited for challenged that involve varying depths or textures, which is even more of a feat considering that I have NO tools whatsoever, not even the cheap ones that come with templates at Walmart.

That's right, it's just me, a pumpkin, one sharp knife, and 8-10 hours of red-eyed dedication.

This year I originally planned to let the boys choose a design as I always had, but after helping me clean them out, Graham decided he would rather play outside in the unseasonably warm weather than design his jack 'o lantern.

All good, more for me.

The only issue was that I already had the pumpkin to carve for Adler (who couldn't verbalize it, but surely wanted an owl with textured wings)...

...a pumpkin for Cael, the pumpkin Graham abandoned, and one beastly giant.

I picked him up from a house outside of town that had large pumpkins for sale, and I could immediately envision the outstanding imagery I would lovingly carve into his face.

My first idea was a delicate, script font reading "Happy Halloween", but then I remembered that I'd done that text in 2014.

I considered "Trick Or Treat", but after making the first cut I discovered that the jumbo pumpkin had very soft flesh and wanted to split, so something with curvy, rounded edges probably wouldn't work.

I settled on a large tree, but 12 hours later when I had it finished, it looked incomplete.  I perused Pinterest until I found this photo of a beautiful sculpted leafy pattern, so I modified the shapes to curve around the tree.

The two days before Halloween passed by in a blur of seeds and slippery pulp beneath my feet, but I managed to finish the tree, the owl, a menacing toothy-grinned face, and even loosened my Halloween control enough to let Cael attempt his first jack 'o lantern.

He did a fantastic, smooth, clean job.  I'm probably going to have to purchase twice as many pumpkins next year.

When it was finally trick-or-treating time, I lit them up and stepped back, please with my work and thinking that the results were almost worth the 18 hours of effort.

And even though it was a little less about them and a little more about me, the pumpkins made the smile, so I'll call this a successful "HalloMEen".

...even if it took me a full 24 hours.

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