Halloween Part 1: Getting our freak on!

It’s 8.30 pm on a school night. The boys and I are slumped exhausted at our dining room table. We are surrounded in all directions by an alarming amount of stringy, pulpy orange debris.

The kitchen has fared even worse – the orange crap is on the floor, the benches and is clumped wetly in the sink. It looks as if Fat Cat has exploded all over the kitchen.

For those who don't remember, Fat Cat was the mid-numbingly boring non-verbal cat that passed for children's entertainment in the late 70's and early 80's.  Definitive proof, if such was needed, that not everything old school is cool.

For those who don’t remember, Fat Cat was the mid-numbingly boring non-verbal cat that passed for children’s entertainment in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Definitive proof, if such was needed, that not everything old school is cool.

But rather than wreaking havoc on hapless costumed creatures of my childhood, we have instead been carving pumpkins into Jack’o’lanterns.

We had a Jack’o’lantern for the first time last year. Brook had done an awesome job of it – one of the great things about having a chef for a partner is their handy knife skills!

As ours was the only one in the street it was a real draw card. It gave our place a kind of spooky prestige and greatly impressed the Halloween punters.

Max and I being zombies next to last year's Jack'o'lantern.

Max and I being zombies next to last year’s Jack’o’lantern.

This year we were determined to up the ante so I bought 2 large pumpkins PLUS 3 mini-pumpkins for the boys to have a go at carving.

In addition I also volunteered Brook and his knife-skills to carve 4 pumpkins for the Halloween Party at the Royal Children’s Hospital. If you ask Brook he will tell you that the great thing about having a partner like ME is that I volunteer him for things and then tell him about it afterwards!

Seriously though, he went all out with the designs and his pumpkins look AMAZEBALLS. But this set a high standard for the remaining two large and three small pumpkins that I was in charge of carving.

As we sat down to our task tonight the boys were beside themselves with anticipation. We soon made the following discoveries about pumpkin carving…

Things I did not know about pumpkin carving before now

1. Pumpkin carving is messy
Seriously next time I will put a tarp on the floor and dress the whole family in disposable raincoats. Prepare to get seeds and strings and pulpy crap EVERYWHERE. Including under my nails which was quite revolting

Pumpkin guts! This is but a small portion of the total mess.

Pumpkin guts! This is but a small portion of the total mess.

2. Pumpkin carving is tiring
Once you’ve got rid of the majority of the seeds etc. you then have to thoroughly scrape out the inside of the pumpkin to get rid of all the flesh and stringy fibres. This takes AGES and is bloody hard work. The boys were fine to get the seeds out but the scraping needs someone with a fair amount of dexterity.

Or, in this case, me.

3. Pumpkin carving is creatively satisfying
We all had so much fun googling designs, debating the merits of happy faces versus scary faces and whether to put give them teeth, eyebrows or scars. They all got to have a go at carving (under supervision and with a pretty blunt knife) and we only had one minor nick.

Anyway here are the results of out endeavours and we’re all pretty pleased with them. Now I just have to remember to buy candles to put in the bloody things!

I think the collective noun for a group of Jack’o’lanterns should be a “seance”. Or maybe a monster of Jack’o’lanterns? What do you think?

Jack'o'lanterns in all sizes!

Jack’o’lanterns in all sizes!