Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jacked-up jack-o-lantern

I'm no pumpkin carving whiz and I never claimed to be. What I am is a woman who loves Halloween and isn't afraid to fail. Convenient, seeing as I do it so often. 

So every October, we hit the old pumpkin patch and set about creating some jack o lanterns. Nothing fancy or ambitious. At least, my end-products aren't fancy or ambitious. The children's design is something else altogether. It's the same every year. I tell the kids to grab a piece of paper and design their jack o lantern, bearing in mind that straight lines are easier for me to execute as I am, after all, just a normal layperson working with a steak knife, not a gourd slicing master with professional implements on hand. And every year they nod and then draw spectacular jack-o-lantern faces, detailed, complex creations, with eyelashes and eye balls and cheekbones and chins and earrings and coiffures. Every feature is rounded. Nota straight line to be spotted. Then they hand it over and say, "This. Make this, Mommy."

"Sure," I agree, and every time I carve the same exact jack-o-lantern face. triangle eyes, an upside down triangle nose. The mouth is where I strut my stuff, often tossing in a tooth or two (always fangs, since they are triangular). Sometimes, i'll carve the child's initials into the cheekbone as if I'm branding the pumping, although usually I just carve another half triangle there, so that it looks like an less than/ greater than sign referring to invisible numbers or a lazy arrow. You'd think the kids would be disappointd or annoyed at my sub-par rendering of thier great vision, but they never are. You know why? 

It's fucking INSANELY cool to watch someone make a pumpkin into a face, no matter how crude that face is. 

"Wow!" they'll exclaim, "I love it!" And then five seconds later, they run off, and don't look at the pumpkin again until it starts to decompose so much so that it stinks. Then they regard it with a lurid fascianton, particulalry if any friends are over. 

"Wan to see something DISGUSTING???" they'll shriek, "Our pumpkin is rotting!"

This year, however, I decided to challenge myself. After eight years of pumpkin carving with s steak knife, i decided to consider a more nuanced implement. I longed for circles. So I took a stab (pun fully intended) with the tiny pocket knife included in David's Leatherman tool. It was a revelation, which I think is clear from the photo above.

"Look kids! I made circular eyes!!!!" I shrieked.

They were considerably less excited about this major step forward in our family's history of pumpkin carving, but what do they know, after all? They're the artists, heads in the clouds, insulated from the tedious details I face as a grunt worker.

Still, I'm pleased.  And next year, the sky's the limit. I'm get all Van Gogh on that pumpkin, swirls and shit. A woman's got to have dreams.