Who Will Help Me Make the Jack-O-Lantern?

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It wasn’t going to be like last year. Last year, the kids were all fired up about carving a jack-o-lantern, but as soon as the “lid” was off the pumpkin, I had an all-out mutiny on my hands as they staunchly refused to touch what Katie aptly termed “pumpkin poo”. I had to threaten total pumpkin annihilation just to get them to reach their hands into the pumpkin and make a show of pulling out a few seeds for the camera. In the end, who was it that actually scraped stringy pumpkin fibers away from the shell and scooped out all the slimy pumpkin guts with her hands, while the eager little munchkins watched?

In a word: me. Just like the Little Red Hen, whose bread making ambitions only interested her neighbors once the smell of a fresh-baked loaf was wafting through the air, Mom was left virtually alone in the act of jack-o-lantern creation.

This year, it was going to be different. For one thing, the kids were going to get their hands dirty. I would scrape, and they would scoop-a team effort. Also, Paul would be home this time. After carving last year’s pumpkin in the afternoon while he was at work, I was looking forward to having another pair of hands (not to mention well-muscled, pumpkin-gut-scraping arms) on the scene.

It worked beautifully. Mostly.

Paul handled the sharp knives this time, an acute relief. He cut the top off the pumpkin in a fun star pattern, and the kids and I got to work on the insides.

Jacko 1

Jacko 2

I scraped a goodly amount of pumpkin glop loose from the gourd’s walls, and then set Katie and Caleb to scooping. They put up a token defense, but when they saw I was serious, they dug in. At least, Katie did. Caleb took one big wad of orange gunk in his hands to transfer it to the bowl and his stomach lurched in a huge dry heave of disgust. His gags became more pronounced and we finally had to excuse him from pumpkin poo duty altogether for fear that he would actually throw up. The combination of the slimy texture and the fruity smell was just too much for him, I guess.

Jacko 7

Jacko 9

After the pumpkin was cleaned out, I set to work picking the pumpkin seeds out of the bowl so that we could roast them while Paul and the kids put their heads together and consulted over pumpkin design. Katie and Caleb had been drawing proposals for weeks, and they gathered them up proudly to let Daddy look over them. He took one of Katie’s ideas for a skull-and-crossbones design and made some changes to incorporate the big square teeth that Caleb wanted. Both kids nodded approval, Paul sketched the pattern on the pumpkin’s surface with a pencil, and the carving commenced.

Jacko 4

Jacko 6

Jacko 8

The four of us munched on pumpkin seeds while the finishing touches were applied to Bony the Jack-o-lantern, and then we carried him out to the porch to survey the effect.

Jacko 5

I think I like this year’s pumpkin best of all the ones we’ve ever made. The Little Red Hen had lots of help.


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15 responses »

  1. First – I have to say Great Job! The pumpkin looks fab.
    Second – Have you noticed Paul is biting his lip in concentration in almost every pic?
    Third – Your hair is so long and you look great!
    Fourth – I love Katie’s pose in the third picture. She looks very laid back… 🙂

  2. I love the facial expressions of all three in the one where Paul is carving the pumkin. You captured such great child-like expressions!

    And thanks for the comment on my latest post! 🙂 I’m sooo enjoying my new camera! (you left a comment while I was still tweaking the post, so there’s a new pic there now, too! You’re super speedy quick on the comments! Yay you!)

  3. Excellent work! That family of yours is quite crafty! And so cute! And your house! I see it!!! And it’s cute too! I love this whole sharing thing. 😀

    (Also, you read my blog way to quickly… I usually post and then edit and then post and then edit… you may have noticed that I’m a bit obsessive… anyway… there are more pictures up now… if you’re interested.)

  4. That IS a funny coincidence! Especially since I don’t use an RSS feed–it was just timing! Love the photos (That red tree is just the epitome of fall, Hillary! And your cat is so cute, Courtney!)

    I do the same thing with obsessively editing my posts after I’ve already posted them, although with NaBloPoMo and the whole daily posting thing, I might have to get a little less obsessive to avoid going completely insane…

  5. Very nice! Hey, I have a question about that window with the green shutters. Is that a real window or some sort of shadow box? We’ve been looking for something like that.

  6. A most awesome Jack-O-Lantern ! When I was carving ours this year, sadly my hand slipped and poor Jack ended up with a unibrow.

    Despite that small dilema, Halloween this year was a blast! Looks like yours was too.

  7. I like how they’re all standing off to the sides with wary expressions until the pumpkin poo is gone. I think I have several years’ worth of similar photos.

    No jack-o-lanterns for us this year. In fact, my son mentioned at breakfast Thursday morning, “Do you realize it was Halloween last night?”

    “Must have been,” my husband answered. “‘Young Frankenstein’ was playing on every channel.”

  8. We didn’t get out pumpkin carved this year, thanks to the strep virus that Alex & I both had on Sunday & Monday. By Tuesday, we were off to the doctor and to bed early, and then, before we knew it, Halloween was here and we hadn’t carved our jack-o-lantern yet!!! So, as we were leaving to go trick or treating, we dropped out little crooked pumpkin outside our door for decoration. It’s already rotted too, which is absolutely disgusting, and very sad since we bought it last Saturday! Oh well!!! Maybe next year we’ll steal your design 🙂

    And, the pictures are really getting to me (the fact that you’re posting such great-sized, cute pics, not the actual pictures because they are great!!!) Are you trying to rub my nose in the fact that I’m apparently stupid? I had to post my latest pic to my blogger account, then import it to WordPress! Uugghh!!!

  9. Jennifer–I sent you an email about posting photos; I hope it helps! Let me know if you have any questions!

    Phil–That window is actually a mirror from Home Interiors that is hung on our dining room wall. I really love it! They also make it in a sort of rust red shade now, I believe. I’ll send this to your email as well so you’ll be sure to see it. 🙂 http://www.homeinteriors.com/sites/higtuley/catalog-landing?catalog=q0407_english (p 69).

  10. well. Mister pumpkin is rather cute and well, just plain happy — LOL
    I enjoyed reading your blog and used to catch you over at the other site so I am glad you left the message that you moved—-
    have a great week- huggles me, Meme

  11. Well, Andrew is nearly nine (as you know) and still refuses to help take out the “pumpkin poo”. As for sharp knives, I left those on the shelf and proceeded with a cordless drill this year. Check my MySpace photos! I had a blast with that thing and the result was surprisingly good! I love your pics and your Jack-O-Lantern turned out great!

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