Monday, 31 October 2016

A Collection of Halloween Thoughts

Carving Pumpkins

 It's Halloween.  When I start to get out the decorations I always think back to carving pumpkins as a kid.  My first memory of carving a jack o lantern must date back to 1953.  I would be in grade one so that was probably my introduction to the celebration of Halloween.  We lived just on the outskirts of Newmarket so we didn't get trick or treaters at the door.  This was all new stuff to me.  The townies knew all about it of course.
Anyway, back to carving pumpkins.  We had a cellar in those days, not a nice basement with finished rooms.  No heat and just a single bulb hanging from the ceiling...classy.  I bundled up in my coat/scarf/hat and Dad and I carried the pumpkin, a knife and spoon, a bowl for the seeds and a pile of newspapers outside and down the steps to the cellar.  It looked a whole lot different down there at night let me tell you.
We spread out the newspapers.  I had no idea what was coming.  Dad cut out a lid and removed the top of the pumpkin.    The lid had stringy stuff hanging from its underside Dad just cut off with his knife.  I got my first look at the innards of a pumpkin.  Yuck!!  Dad handed me a big spoon and I just dug in there, pulling out all the goo and seeds and scraping the inside nice and clean.  My hands were wet and slimy and cold. 
While I drew the face on the pumpkin Dad started separating the seeds from the slime.  Gram would salt and roast those for us.  Once the face was drawn on Dad took over with the cutting and I finished up separating the seeds from the slime.  Did I mention the slime?  That pumpkin looked pretty good when Dad was finished.  I think he may have "enhanced" my drawing just a tad.
I took the seeds in to Mom and got the devil for getting goo all over my coat sleeves and then went back outside in the chill to see the "preview".  Wow, did that pumpkin look good all lit up with a flickering candle inside.  Dad turned it to face in to the house and we enjoyed looking out the window at it while we ate our roasted pumpkin seeds on Halloween night.
Over the years I gradually progressed to carving my own pumpkin which of course had to be admired in the preview the night before Halloween.   We carried on the tradition when our daughter came along.  She now carries on the tradition for her two little ones.  But me...well I think I've had just about enough pumpkin slime to last me a lifetime.  I have two ceramic pumpkins and a package of battery operated tea lights all ready to go.

Something for the kidlets:

A Halloween Bunny Tail

Ten little bunny children hopped around his feet, all talking at once.
"I want to be a bat."
"Are there really monsters outside in the dark?"
"What kinds of candy will we get?"
"Are you coming with us Grandpa?"
Grandpa Rabbit laughed and laughed.  "Oh yes," he said, "I'm coming with you.  Little bunny children can't go out in the dark alone, not even on Halloween."
"We have a few weeks yet before it's time.  One by one, come and tell me what you want to dress up as and together we will work on every one's costumes."
Everyone in the lovely green meadow was making plans for Halloween. Mommas were making treats and Poppas were carving pumpkins and making decorations.  All the meadow children were excited and planning their costumes.
When the great night finally arrived there were ten over excited bunny children in Grandpa Rabbits nest.  There was a ghost, a vampire, a cowboy, a robot, a skeleton, a monster, a fairy princess, a mummy, a witch and a black cat.  Grandpa Rabbit was taking a long time to get ready.
The children peeped out of the burrow while they waited.  In the velvety darkness of the night the stars glowed, the moon rose over them and far away Otis Owl hooted a long, low whooooooo......  Then, one by one, pumpkins were lit, the lights from them casting frightening shadows over the decorations the meadow folk had put up around their homes.  Doors were opened and Mommas or Poppas stood ready with bowls and plates of homemade treats.  The bunny children could hear running footsteps and laughter.  The excitement was just about unbearable.
Miss Mouse from next door lit Grandpa Rabbits pumpkin for him and old Grandma Beaver, all dressed up like a witch, came over to hand out Grandpa's treats for him while he and the children were out.  But .......  WHERE was Grandpa Rabbit?
"Here I am.  Let's go!"
But all the bunny children were laughing so hard they couldn't move because Grandpa Rabbit was dressed like.....................AN OCTOPUS.  He was dressed like an octopus with ten arms, one for each bunny child.  Grandpa Rabbit winked at Grandma Beaver.  "Okay, everyone grab a tentacle." he shouted and
And go they did.  They had a wonderful time, got lots of treats and no one got lost.  At the end of the evening a very tired Grandpa Rabbit took them all safely home with their bags of goodies for Momma to put to bed.  "Goodnight children." he said, "Sleep tight."  Then Grandpa Rabbit went home to his burrow and plopped himself down in his nest without even taking off his costume.  "I just love Halloween." he said happily, as he drifted off to sleep.

It’s Halloween

When black cats prowl
and pumpkins gleam
ghouls awake
from an age long dream,
ghosts and vampires
shout and scream
it's Halloween, it's Halloween.

The Pumpkin Man

Down in
The basement
Shiver in the cold,
Digging in
a pumpkin
Searching for the gold
Cutting up
The pulp
So Mom can make a pie,
Splitting up
The seeds
For roasting,
Dad and I
Slicing off
Those dangly bits
Fingers stiff and cold,
Carving out
A face
That's frightening and bold.
When we put
The candle in
And the light shines through,
Pumpkin man
Will come alive
And he will scare YOU! 


  1. I have never carved a pumpkin. Or seen one, except in books and movies.
    Love pumpkin seeds.
    And count me as a kidlet. Loved your story.

  2. I love your kids story and I think the octopus costume with a tentacle for each kidlet is a stroke of genius.
    I like pumpkin seeds too, they're called pepitas here and I buy them in bags from the supermarket.

    1. You can buy them that way here as well but it's more fun to roast your own.

  3. We carved a pumpkin one year when I was a kid. Someone smashed it, so we didn't do that again. When my stepdaughter was young, we tried it with some friends and their kids. All the kids were bored within 30 minutes and the adults had to finish the job!

    1. We keep ours inside until Halloween night and then, when the fun ends, we toss it immediately.

  4. I Haven't carved a pumpkin in years, fun tradition with kids.

    1. It is fun...and the pumpkin seeds were yummy too.

  5. What a great memory! You and I are only a few years apart, so I remember the things you mention.
    Carving pumpkins with my kids and then their kids: a memory to relish.

  6. "I got my first look at the innards of a pumpkin. Yuck!!"
    Yes ... I can relate to this.

    I loved reading this post, thank you so much for sharing.

    All the best Jan


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