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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Carving pumpkins


I think even if she didn't know about jack o'lanterns Coryn would still want her own pumpkin. I remember last year (she was two and a half) when they first got them in at our commissary she was in awe of the large, orange globes, and even more excited when I let her pick out one to take home. However, when we got home, the first thing she did was ask to eat it, and I realized she had no idea why we'd gotten a pumpkin and just assumed since it came from the produce section of our commissary that it must be some sort of large apple. It took some convincing to get her not to take a butter knife to it. Over the course of carving the pumpkin she got a few tastes of it, and she knows better now.


This year we picked out a smallish one because I didn't want to spend a lot of money on one this early (last year we got one about a week into October and it was moldy over a week before Halloween. Oozy black moldy. . .) but there is always a chance that they won't get more in after their first shipment in which case you are stuck buying early or risking not getting one at all (we ended up getting a fake Christmas tree last year because they never restocked even after the ones they had were all dried out; they just assumed we were desperate enough to buy dried husks, I guess.). I think she liked having one that she could carry on her own and it was a little bit easier to clean (Only a little easier because it had as many seeds as the big one she got last year, I swear).


She told me she wanted it to be a “sad” faced pumpkin and even asked for “drops” running down its face. I'd never carved pumpkin tears before, but she was right, it really brings out the sadness of the pumpkin, though I have no idea why he is sad. She named him Quincy, after a boy in her Sunday school class (I have no idea if he is also a sad pumpkin). We lit a candle and took his picture a few times. . .then I kept having to put it back because she would run off with it or move it, lit candle and all.


Growing up a lot of our friends weren't allowed to “celebrate” Halloween, but I've always been fond of the holiday. A lot of our harmless traditions come from pagan roots, and I'm not going to stop using the word Jovial because it refers to a Roman god, and I'm definitely not getting rid of my cat because some ancient Egyptians might show up at my door requesting to worship her. Sometimes I feel we give things a power over us by making them taboo. I remember being in a church for a social event with some other home schoolers and having one of them question why a Christian church had a pumpkin (not a jack o'lantern, an uncarved pumpkin) as part of a table display. As if somehow pumpkins have magical powers or pagan significance. Now, I'm not condoning all aspects of the holiday. I don't even like scary movies and I have seen people get carried away on the scary or occult sides of decorating/costumes. However, I remember reading stories where Puritans made jack'o lanterns in the colonial days and I figure if the world's most infamous witch hunters didn't see them as “occult” than they are a fairly harmless tradition.


I guess the main reason I like Halloween is because it allows for a lot of self-expression. I got to design a pumpkin and choose a costume (usually hand craft it as well). I normally knew what I wanted to be by the end of July. While I tried to work as much creative expression into all my holidays as possible (hand drawn Christmas cards and Valentines, figuring out what that weird wax pencil that came with the egg coloring kit was for on Easter. . .wax resists are fun.), with Halloween I could completely rewrite myself for a day and go in character if I really wanted to. I still like to dress up. Last year I went as a Star Trek crew member (original series, male costume because I didn't feel like a mini-skirt. . .though I feel justified in this decision because of the creepy man-in-a-female-uniform who haunts a few background shots in Star Trek: The Next Generation season one. . .google it some time. It's true. I figure, if Picard let a man romp around in a short skirt on his Enterprise, some lenient captain in Kirk's era must've allowed a girl or two to wear the pants.). This year I'm a generic pirate, even purchasing a maternity pirate costume rather than constructing something. Lazy, I know, but I still want to dress up even if I don't have the energy this particular year to make up something more elaborate.

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