Saturday, October 26, 2013

Jack 'Em Lanterns

I finally broke down and bought some carving pumpkins. Up until now, all my pumpkin indulgence has been focused on the kind we can eat, but when our co-op offered gigantic carving beauties for only $3.75 apiece, I had to go for it! I mean, think of the children!

(My kiddos are a little obsessed with this seasonal activity... as soon as they get the go-ahead every fall, It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown makes it in to our usual bed time story rotation, not to mention a few showings of the vintage cartoon itself.)

For going on the second year, our "Jack 'Em Lanterns" as they are called around here are designed by the kiddos using a big Sharpie marker, then Mama does her best to execute said design with the carving knife. It gets a little challenging interpreting what is negative space, what is pivotal to the design's integrity, and what was just a line from the marker touching pumpkin skin when the artist wasn't paying attention. Seriously, though, last year's lantern was so great it totally was worth the carpal tunnel after the painstaking carving and scraping... and let's be honest: there's no way I'd come up with stuff like this.

They take their jobs very seriously. Every line is intentional, and there's no doubt there's a vision with each design (I have to admit I was halfway expecting Audrey to try and talk Henry into "modeling" for her design, as she thinks that particular part of the Charlie Brown story is hilarious... I'm happy to report it didn't come up).

While we carve, we talk about the way the pumpkin seeds feel (don't throw the seeds at each other guys!), how they got in the pumpkin, why they smell the way they do (no, Henny, don't eat the pumpkin goo), how they were once grown simply to feed animals through the winter (no, Henny, Leeloo does not want a bite of your pumpkin), how people used to carve turnips instead of pumpkins, how candles were the only way to see in the dark for so long... you know, the good stuff. 

Then, after dinner and sunset, we ceremoniously carry the pumpkins to the front porch, drop the tea lights inside, and light 'em up. Only then is the fullness of the artistry and the insight into these little minds realized, and oh, it's so magical.

Even if I do have to write about it chicken-pecking with my left hand while my right wrist recovers from carving duty... until next year!

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