Hallmark Holidays

Jack-O-Lanterns

So we went to the pumpkin patch last week and came home with two pumpkins. 

I picked out a lovely perfectly rounded unblemished beauty. So stunning was this pumpkin that it could have been a coach for Cinderella.

Sean picked an oddly shaped, tall, skinny lop-sided pumpkin.  I pointed out its flaws, that it had a bad case of acne and couldn’t stand up straight.  But he didn’t care.  He pleaded his case saying it was a good pumpkin — that he loved it and it was the only pumpkin for him.  He didn’t see that it was ugly.   May he continue to see the world this way, as one who doesn’t look at the outside but only sees the good in a pumpkin.

As soon as we got home, he immediately wanted to get busy carving up those pumpkins, even though I told him they wouldn’t last long once they were carved.  And in typical three-year-old fashion, he would not be deterred by logic — even after I dispelled the visions of knife wielding dancing in his head when I informed him his job would be to pull out the seeds.

 After I cut the top off the first pumpkin, I told him to reach in and start pulling out all the seeds being very careful not to use the word guts.  “No thanks!” he said pinching his nose. “It’s stinky and icky.  I just want to do the fun stuff.”  And then he ran away to play until the fun stuff started happening.  I love his honesty. I may use that line on him the next time he calls me in the bathroom to wipe his little stinky icky behind.

When “we” were done carving up our pumpkins, I put tea light candles in each one and lit them and then turned down the lights.  I called Sean in to see our jack-o-lanterns in all their glowing glory. “Ooooh!” he said, “That’s inter-westing!”  And then he scrambled up on a chair and blew the candles out. And then I lit them. And he blew them out. And I lit them and this went on for many many rounds and again the next day and the next.  Apparently this was the fun stuff to which he was referring.

After about three days, the jack-o-lanterns began to shrivel and take on a peculiar smell as all beautiful and ugly things eventually do and so they were removed to the trashcan. 

We enjoyed the pumpkins immensely during their short tenure here at the House of Antique and in return they enjoyed a full 15 minutes of flame – in about 900 one-second intervals.

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25 thoughts on “Jack-O-Lanterns

  1. Oh, this made me smile. Perhaps because I just played “ring a rosey” about 200 times this evening. Well, a slight exaggeration. Maybe 100 times ;). Yes, there’s a lot we can learn from our toddlers. Stamina not being the least of them.

  2. I keep them outside, they can get as fuzzy and nasty as they want – sometimes it looks BETTER that way for Halloween. I also prefer to pick out the “ugly” pumpkins for carving, they have more character!

  3. Read Sean “The Bumpy Little Pumpkin” by Margery Cuyler. And we keep ours outside but we are in a much more northen state so the cool temps have them keep longer. If you are REALLY commited (or about to be!) you coud put Jack in the fridge at night.

  4. Once you carve them, rub them all over with Vaseline before you set them outside–particularly the inside and the cut surfaces. We do this each year and ours last for at least a few weeks…

  5. We used to host a huge Halloween party every year for our young marrieds Sunday school class. (I know; the irony is thick.) Apparently, I missed the chapter on rotting pumpkins in the “Now You’re A Grown-Up” manual. About a week after one of our biggest parties, I went to pick up a jack o’lantern sitting on our fireplace hearth — and it melted in my hands, like some sort of nasty mutant villain. At least you got rid of yours while it was still a solid.

  6. We do the Vaseline trick too. One good rubdown on all the carved parts will keep your pumpkins robust for weeks. Plus, it makes them kinda shiny, so they always look really clean. Might want to set them outside on the porch after that though. Slimy home decor tends to get a bit messy…

  7. Thank you for being so funny. You’ve made me smile today! We’re carving pumpkins this weekend… I am sure it will be a similar experience to yours!

  8. Those are excellent jack-o-lanterns.
    We carve ours – and I just mention this for you to file away for future reference – the night before Halloween. They keep much better that way.

  9. We’re carving pumpkins this weekend–my fifteen year old and I! She is still excited about it, although her designs have gotten more intricate as she has gotten older.

    I’m taking pictures, too, this year! You never know when the “last” time is until after it happens, and then it’s too late for pictures. Realistically, this year could be the “last” time we do this! 🙁

    So I need to savor, and enjoy the messy fun. Maybe we’ll have a seed fight this time! It might have to be an outside project.

    I NEVER heard the Vaseline trick, though. Thank you all for sharing that little tip. We’re definitely doing that.

  10. I think they both look great–you worked your magic on Mr. Acne–but the part I liked the best was the prop you used to keep him from slouching.

  11. The “I just want to do the fun stuff” line is essentially what I had to tell my dd about the bummy wiping thing. Can’t…wipe…another…time…

  12. Dear Martha, your pumpkins look perfect! Dang it! They are beautifully carved. Ours always look…picturesque and interesting and full of personality and like they have a good sense of humour and…(trying to think of more euphemisms for ugly!)…

  13. I love this time of year and the carving of the pumpkins. Last year was the first time the kids were old enough. I get the same response on the icky stuff. And they are BIG fans of candles. I, myself, am partial to goofy shaped pumpkins with bumps so that I can carve odd faced pumpkins. But then… I’m probably a wierdo. Round ones are certainly nice, too. 🙂

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