What could be better than combining sharp implements of doom and children? Adding beer of course! To be fair, the children don’t get the beer, but other than that, it’s a general free for all this annual tradition.
The parents of a classmate of August (now in 2nd grade) holds an annual pumpkin carving party. You have to bring your own pumpkin, but other than that, everything is provided. It’s a great way to help take a lot of the tediousness from the task of carving a jack-o-lantern. Let’s face it, designing what to carve is great fun, and when the design comes out well the carving can be fun too (though mostly that’s in retrospect). The laborious opening and scooping out the pumpkin itself, however, tends to take a lot of the joy away.
Now, I don’t know what motivated them to do this, but it’s a major party, and they host it well. Part of what makes it a success is the setup of their garage. It’s large, detached from the house, and has been converted to a work space. There’s a climbing wall and tunnel maze for kids on one side even.
A few plywood boards are laid across several sawhorses and lined in plastic to provide a surface upon which several people can hack away at a gourd of their choosing at the same time. This family supplies a massive stack of pizza, a few cases of beer, appropriate drinks for the kids and enough cutting utensils to stock a good horror movie.
We arrived towards the beginning of the evening, Laura meeting us there having come directly from her class. I had the four young kids and pumpkins. We let the kids run around doing whatever they do – it should be noted the parent to child ratio was almost 1:1 at this thing.
Laura hung out for a while, mostly watching Xavier and chatting with some adults while I started slicing and dicing on our pumpkins. August wanted a Bat-signal. While I wasn’t really planning on having a “full Bat-signal” I figured the Batman emblem would be enough. This was easy for me to do as I had been doing a similar design for the last few years.
One pumpkin down, three to go.
It used to be we had pumpkins for every member of the family – Laura, myself, Kyle, etc. A couple of years ago I put a stop to this practice, as I was the only one doing any of the carving and the number of family members kept growing.
Now we (I) just do pumpkins for the children living in the house at the time of the carving. Sure, I used to get some help with the scooping out of innards, but not nearly as muchas to make it worthwhile. And some of the design requests have gotten… beyond the scope of what I can accomplish within my limited assembly line methods, not to mention time and physical stamina.
After doing Augusts pumpkin, I turned my attention to Déla’s. I asked her what she wanted. A kitty. Can I find a kitty stencil? Um… sorry, dear, but it’s a bit late for that, considering we’re not at home, not near the computer, and certainly can’t print anything out. What else would you like? An 8-eyed monster. Okay… I’ll do my best.
Well, I tried. She’s happy enough with the results, and that’s good enough for me.
It was at this time Laura left, taking with her Xavier and Ciárán, to put them to bed. I had two more pumpkins to carve, and would be able to take August and Déla home – remember, we had two vehicles since I met Laura there.
I was at a loss as to what to carve. Scooping out the last two pumpkins proved to be more difficult, not because of the beer (having had only one while there) but because the pumpkins were smaller, providing closer quarters for my hand and scoop to fit inside. Other parents had their kids carving their own pumpkins with varying success. I’m beginning to think I need to have August and Déla carve their own pumpkins next year.
I took a small break, had a slice of pizza, and checked in on the kids. Well, at least the kids of mine that were still there. They were doing alright, having a grand time of it, running around, playing. I’m actually surprised nobody gets injured with all the young kids running around and sharp implements of doom laying about.
We made it home and the kids were in bed a little later than they would have normally, but still at a decent enough hour. We now have four jack-o-lanterns to adorn our porch, and everybody still has their digits and had a good time. That’s success in my book. Happy Halloween.