I was four in this picture, and I have no idea what motivated me to draw a beard on my Jack-o-lantern, but there it is.
Pumpkin carving was always a BIG night for me. Dad would give me a piece of paper to work out the details on – mouth, eyes, nose – and then we would trace my drawing onto the front of the pumpkin. With a few sheets of the Oregon Journal covering our kitchen table, Dad would cut the top and pull it off, and then he and I would degut the pumpkin together while my mom watched. (She didn’t like the feel of pumpkin guts and left that part entirely to us.) Then Dad would help me carve the face, letting me hold the knife and showing me how to carefully cut each angle and line, all the while entertaining me with a steady string of his Halloween teacher-jokes. (What do ghosts put on their cereal? Booberries!)
I remember being so excited when our Jack-o-lantern was done! Mom would put some aluminum foil in the bottom of the pumpkin and set a white candle inside, and Dad used a long-handled match from our fireplace to reach down in and light the candle. Then he put the lid on and dimmed the lights, and we would all stand back and watch the candle dance inside. That was the best, best, best part of Halloween. The trick-or-treating was fine, and the candy was great too, but that moment when we lit our pumpkin – that was Magic! Nowadays, a lot folks are painting their pumpkins or covering them with glitter and such, but not me. As long as I can manage it, there will be a Jack-o-Lantern on my porch – that little light shining out and the scent of warm pumpkin filling the air.
Do you have a favorite Halloween memory? Please share it in the comments below!
When the pumpkin is carved and lit, there is another memory to make. Pumpkin Seeds!! And while it’s true that washing those little suckers off can be tedious, once you do, what a treat you have in store!!
Quick, easy Pumpkin Seed Clean-up:
1. Separate as much of the pulp as you can by hand. (“As much as you can” really means as long as you can stand it. For me, that’s about a minute. Pumpkin guts make my hands itch.)
2. Get a big bowl and fill it with water. Put the seeds in, pulp and all, and start squishing them around with your hands. The pulp will sink to the bottom, and the seeds will rise to the top. Easy peasy.
Now for the treat part! (You will be so glad you took that five minutes to clean those seeds!!) When I started out today, I was going to write my own post on how to roast pumpkin seeds – Pumpkin Pie Spice Pumpkin Seeds – but, first of all, someone else beat me to it, and second, I saw how many other delicious sounding pumpkin seed recipes and cool flavor combinations out there, and I wanted to share.