I have a Halloween confession: I dislike carving pumpkins. The jack-o’-lantern does not cast its haunting glow at my place of residence, and it’s not because the seedy, sticky innards make a mess or because cutting into the top of a pumpkin is a pain in the ass. I abstain from the act of carving for the scariest holiday of the year because I’m terrible at pumpkin carving.
If I, an adult, carved a pumpkin now, you know what I would carve? The moon. It would just be a big ol’ circle. And that circle would probably be jagged.
Unfortunately, once you are old enough to have a fully-formed brain, people expect a little more of your pumpkin than triangle eyes and gap-toothed grin. They expect something spectacular – spooktacular, if you will; for example, a sinister haunted house with ghosts floating above the roof, or the face of Frankenstein’s monster, or a cat with its hair standing on end, freaking-the-shit-out, presumably because it saw a ghost or something else frightening, or maybe just a leaf flickering in the wind. Cats are weird.
The goal is to create the most impressive jack-o’-lantern on your block, then bask in the wonder and awe of trick-or-treaters and party guests. When your pumpkin looks like a nine-year old created it, nobody is impressed, especially not the nine-year old.
My heart goes out to pathetic pumpkin-carving parents who have to deal with their kids pressuring them to create something fantastic. Come on, kids, isn’t it enough that your parents spent $5 on an inedible pumpkin?
For my part, I’ve come up with a solution to my carving deficiencies, which allows me to enjoy the Big Spook. I call it The Great Pumpkin Toss.
1. Get a pumpkin.
2. Put it in the vicinity of your door so the mail carrier and the Jehovah’s Witnesses can see it.
3. Let it sit for a month.
4. During that month, stare at it, admire its warm orange glow, marvel at its non-rotting glory. Do not carve it, or degrade it by adding sticker faces or drawing designs on its skin.
5. A few days after American Thanksgiving, the unofficial end of autumn, pick the pumpkin up and ceremoniously carry it to your backyard compost pile, or take it to a nice hill, or perhaps a ravine.
6. Raise the pumpkin up high.
7. Give a great big heave and toss that squash (remember to bend at the knees).
Now your pumpkin will spend the next month happily rotting, commingling with other rotting things, and nourishing those still living. And you, inept carver, will never have to be embarrassed by your pathetic jack-o’-lantern ever again.
Happy Big Spook!