Pumpkin carving, it’s not only a Halloween pastime, but also happens to be one of my favorite things to do of all time. From picking the perfect pumpkin to choosing the perfect carving cutout, it just doesn’t feel like fall until I have carved one, or ten, of those bright orange gourds.
While pumpkin carving has been a yearly tradition of mine for, well, too many years to mention, I found through this week’s “Try it with Tabby” my skill level does not meet up to my many years of practice. Additionally, under the careful self-observation of this year’s pumpkin expedition, I also noticed a few pumpkin-specific quirks about myself.
The quest for the perfect carving pumpkin seems commonplace at this time of year. While some judge their future jack-o-lanterns by shape, size and color, usually choosing the roundest, most brightly colored with the least amount of imperfections, I found my decision-making skills differed.
Pumpkin purchasers, almost like Black Friday shoppers, hoover over and eye the best of the bunch, quick to fight over the perfect specimen, as I eye the half-rotted or warty pumpkins looked over by nearly everyone. I just can’t help but feel the need to save every unwanted underdog of a gourd, call it the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree syndrome if you must.
For the sake of trying something new, I fought my way into the masses of eager pumpkin hunters at the pumpkin patch this past rainy Saturday and came out with a fairly perfect pumpkin to call my own. Aside from my pumpkin, I also left with a hint of guilt about leaving behind those which would only make their way to the pie pile. In the grand scheme of things, however, I suppose death by baking far surpasses death by stabbing, painting and being filled with flames.
Moving on, once the pumpkin choosing has been accomplished, nearly as important is your choice of carving tools. Keeping it current, this year I decided to ditch my traditional marker-and-knife approach of the past and get spendy with a pumpkin carving kit. A few things on that note. One: pumpkin carving kits are useless without tape. Two: Tools included in such kits rarely last through the pumpkin carving process. Three: I am not quite as detail oriented as I thought I was and just don’t have the patience to work through even a level one pumpkin carving template.
So, I returned for the most part to my traditional pumpkin carving ways and decided to carve my name into my pumpkin. Easier said than done. I stumbled for a while with the concept of positive and negative space, but in the end came out with something legible, somewhat attractive and, while not the underdog pumpkin of my dreams, still able to be lit up and displayed on my front porch.