Thursday, November 01, 2007

pumpkin madness

Every year, we get pumpkins for the kids to make jack-o-lanterns. Specifically: DH makes the jack-o-lanterns. Scraping out pumpkin guts is not my thing.

This year, I spared him having to run around looking for a pumpkin patch the day before Halloween by buying the pumpkins over the weekend. I figured we were all set for the jack-o-lantern production since, really, what else besides pumpkins do you need?

Silly me: time.

You see, here in the greater Phoenix area, day time temperatures are still in the 90s. If you carve a pumpkin too soon before the big day, you'll be left with nothing but a heap of slimy goo on Halloween. So, no pumpkin carving until October 30, the earliest! Even better if you can wait until the day itself.

The expectation was, DH & the kids could do the jack-o-lanterns on Tuesday. But Tuesday night I had a support group meeting, carpooling with several members up to Scottsdale. I left at 6PM and didn't get home until after 10; the meeting was huge; four new members and lots of returns. I hoped to see 3 jack-o-lanterns smiling at me when I got home, but no such luck: DD had killer math homework, and DH helped her to finish it so she could get to bed on time.

That left me, of course, in charge of pumpkins yesterday. Oy.

I like jack-o-lanterns, I just don't like having to gut the pumpkins:

DS2 took this photo. I thought he was shooting the pumpkin, not me; see how thrilled I was?

I complained so much about the pumpkin guts that the kids insisted on taking a close-up:
It looks like so much cottony stuff, but in reality, it's slimy, ropey, clingy strings, randomly loaded with pumpkin seeds. And it's tenacious.

Through trial and error, I discovered the perfect pumpkin gutting tool:
Pampered Chef's plastic scraper -- small enough to get inside the pumpkin, strong enough to scrape the ropey, slimy strands off the walls.(See note, below)

While I was scraping, I had the kids design their jack-o-lanterns on paper; once the pumpkins were cleaned out, carving in the designs was short work. I love how every year they change just a bit, and I love how such simple designs can convey such varied expressions. Here they are by day:

And, for the full spooky effect, by night:

Note: from November 1 through November 16, 2007, ThyCa Phoenix is holding a fund-raising event. A percentage of each purchase made via Pampered Chef will be donated to thyroid cancer research. Pampered Chef ships anywhere in the US. For your purchase to be considered part of this event, click on the "Order Products" button in the lower left corner. On the next screen, enter THYCA in the "Host's first name/Organization" box, then click "search for host." On the next screen, click on "THYCA", and then begin shopping.

1 comment:

nina said...

Nice work!

The best thing about having kids leave home (possibly the only good thing) is: no more pumpkin carving and no more birthday parties to plan.
However, as if to compensate, the other holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) have grown to be such huge productions that I decided the best time to plan a short vacation is for the period right after.