Jack O’Lanterns!

 Posted by at 18:53 on 29 October 2015
Oct 292015
 

We greatly enjoy carving pumpkins. Every year we carve pumpkins throughout October – we start as soon as we spot them in the shops, carve some, throw them out when they get moldy, and then carve some more, mostly keeping jack o’lanterns in the house for the whole month. This year is no exception. Here are the ones we’ve done so far.

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Our first set

Our first set

We’re fairly traditional for our first set, usually.

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We had problems with our second set of pumpkins. I got two regular-sized pumpkins (“large”, they call them here; a bit on the tidgy size, I say). Before we carved them, I saw these two baby pumpkins that were just so adorable, I picked them up for the heck of it. They took about five minutes to do the boring part of the carving (getting the guts out and all that), so if they have these again next year, I might try to foist them on the WI as a starter carving thing. I wasn’t sure we’d carve the little ones, or just keep them whole as decoration.

Then when we sat down to carve the larger ones, the first large one was rotten, through and through. The second large one had a spot of rot in the top, just next to the stem, but I’d seen that when I got it at the shop, and I actually got that one for free – I reckoned it’d be coming out anyway, so it’d be fine. And it was! The other one, that gave no sign of being off, was. Bizarre. That’s been our only rotten pumpkin, out of something like 60 since I’ve moved here.

No matter! We had plenty of pumpkins. So I carved the larger one, and Chris carved the two smaller ones. The one on the far left had several small bits all around it that were rotten and needed to come out, so he devised this carving (which wrapped around, a bit) to do that. You can’t tell it from the photo, but the larger pumpkin was quite knobbly and bumpy, so I was inspired to do a witch.

Our second set

Our second set

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Chris' pumpkin from the third set

Chris’ pumpkin from the third set

For our third set, one of the pumpkins I chose was this short, wide, one. I did get the joy of seeing “Devil pumpkin” on my receipt, because they’ve decided to call these “Red devil” pumpkins, but upon carving them, Chris eyed up the normal-shaped pumpkin, and the more frisbee-shaped pumpkin, and declared that I could figure out what to do with the devil pumpkin. So I gutted it, and then eyed it and eyed it for a long while.

Eventually, I decided it needed a design that wrapped around (so yes, this is one pumpkin, just different sides) to make better use of the shape. Something or other inspired me to do a pacman-themed one. Then we set it on a turntable, so we can spin it around easily. 🙂

My third one (it wrapped around)

My third one (it wrapped around)

  2 Responses to “Jack O’Lanterns!”

  1. SJ these are really impressive, you guys do such creative designs on pumpkins!

    Do you have any trick or treaters there?

    • Thanks, Dad! We have two more sets yet to post – we carved one pair on Friday night, and we’ll carve the last set when those go, and then I’ll post about them.

      We don’t get trick-or-treaters here at our house, no, but they get them in other parts of town, and trick-or-treating is largely despised here in Glossop. Sadly, they don’t get into the whole Halloween experience here – there’s very little decoration (there might be two or three houses in the whole town decorated on the outside, so very bad for trick-or-treating); the people passing out the candy never get into costume, or put on music like Mom always did, they never think to do a trick like that year I dressed as Death and passed out candy, and so on. At least, this is what I’ve gathered by talking to people about trick-or-treating, and reading about it in various places; I’ve yet to witness it anywhere. All you’re left with, then, is just
      1. Open Door
      2. Thrust Candy at kids
      3. Shut Door
      4. Wait for the knocking to interrupt your tv show to do it again
      With that lack of atmosphere, no wonder they don’t like it! It’s not an enjoyable community experience anymore, but just a weird thing that seems like begging.

      Interestingly, much as they decry trick-or-treating as American, it’s actually a corruption of the original soul caking, popular in Britain from the Middle Ages until the 1930s.

      The soul cakes, often simply referred to as souls, are given out to soulers (mainly consisting of children and the poor) who go from door to door during the days of Allhallowtide singing and saying prayers “for the souls of the givers and their friends”.

      “Halloween is an American holiday” is something I hear a lot at this time of year, with the “American” said as a dirty word, usually.

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