Jack o’Lantern Memories · 4 November 2012

Even though it is an odd tradition to scoop the guts out of a pumpkin and carve it up to become a decoration, I have great memories of our family making Jack o’lanterns before Halloween.

As the kids get older and even move out of the house, Halloween becomes less of a party. The boys do not want to dress up and they are getting too old for trick or treating. They want the candy, but not all the preparation that goes with it. Frankly, that is okay with me. All I really care about is carving pumpkins.

Actually, while I do love to carve pumpkins, I really love doing anything with my kids. I know we can never know what memories our children will take with them as they leave the house, but my hope is that we spend enough time together for them to have a few good ones. But whether or not they remember carving pumpkins, I know I will.

Even though I do not remember every pumpkin I ever carved, I do remember the times carving them with my boys. I remember helping them cut off the tops like they were surgeons taking off the top of a scalp to do intricate brain surgery, and then watching as they proceeded to messily scoop out all the brains and guts. Usually leaving a bunch of stringy stuff for me to clean up when they were done. I do not know if I ever shared those gruesome thoughts with them as they were doing the lobotomies, but I usually think of the initial steps that way. Especially, if the creations are going to be faces.

After we gut the pumpkins, we proceed to create our masterpieces in orange.

Over the years, we have gone from making simple faces to using templates to doing sometimes complicated requests. Actually, I have pretty much always done at least one pumpkin request per year. And whether it was making a train for Thing 2 or a VW van for The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, I have always enjoyed doing a challenging carving.

This year, Thing 2 and I had a fun time making our individual Jack o’lanterns. He showed his teenagedness by putting the sheetrock saw we use as a carving tool into Jack’s head as a final touch. I was disappointed that Thing 3 did not want to carve a pumpkin, but we had gotten one for him just in case he changed his mind. He never did change his mind which is probably why I was a little sad as I reminisced about all three boys being around the table carving Jack o’lanterns for Halloween when they were younger.

I was not sad for too long though. After all, I know the boys will all grow up, possibly outgrow traditions, and eventually move away. And as they leave the nest one by one, I will miss the things we have done together. But I will continue to carve pumpkins. Not just because I love to do it or even because it is a tradition. I will continue to carve pumpkins into Jack o’lanterns so I can remember the fun times I had with my kids scooping the guts out of pumpkins.

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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