As a child, I always found great pleasure in being the "chosen one" who got to draw the mouth on our Halloween pumpkin. I would delicately etch each crooked and severely gapped tooth with the precision of the finest plastic surgeon. I always used a pencil, as instructed by my father, and it would not be uncommon to erase and redesign several times before finalizing my decision. I'd step back--hand to chin--and glance back at my father for approval. "Let the games begin!" he'd laugh, as he whipped out mom's sharpest knife.
Last year marked the very first pumpkin my husband has ever carved. If you recall, it looked a little like a toothless ghost with a wandering eye, and by the end of October, she had puckered into a 90-year-old woman (minus the crotchety demands).
|pumpkin head: circa 2010|
I'm not gonna lie... I'm a bit of a control freak, which we'll go ahead and blame on my father. I like things a certain way and I'm pretty sure nobody can do anything as half as good as me. Halloween is no exception to the rule, as I silently cringe watching my husband prep his workspace. I excuse myself with a tall glass of Pinot and open the gate to my neighbors yard. "This oughtta be good!" I chuckle, "Last year he cut the top straight down and he couldn't get it out of the hole to put a candle in." Despite his unpolished art skills and my self-righteous posture, I am adamant that certain traditions are off limits to me. "This is one of those things I want Isla to remember doing with her dad." I confess. "I know one day she will look back on this as one of her happiest memories."
A short time later, the designer and her carving assistant come walking towards the gate, proudly displaying an illuminating orange head. "Say hello to our pumpkin ghost!" they announce. "He looks like he's got a hair-lip?!" I giggle under my breath, as the daggers from my husband’s eye-rolls punch me in the face. "Isla worked really hard on this, Mommy!" he advised with a protruding vein. "I'm sorry..." I begin, "He's a really spoooooky ghost pumpkin... you guys did a great job!"
I don't know if it's intentional or sheer coincidence that their pumpkins never seem to have teeth--or even eyeballs for that matter--nor do I dare to ask. What I DO know is that he remembered to cut the top on an angle this year and was proactive about saving all the pumpkin seeds. And, although the short attention span of our 4-year-old girl may have stood in the way of her full participation, the smile on her face upon sharing her final masterpiece with the world was reward enough for me keeping my mouth shut... this time!