Eeek!! She’s Got a Knife!!!

Halloween has always been une femme’s favorite holiday. As a child, I used to start drawing pictures of ghosts and jack-o-lanterns and owls around mid-August, and driving my mother crazy by wanting to go costume shopping. (Back then, stores didn’t start carrying Halloween stuff until the first of October, and didn’t put up the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Ah, simpler times.) Halloween especially, still brings out my kitschy, traditional, nostalgic side. And let’s not forget “corny.”

The only candy I still nostalgia-binge on is Brach’s Autumn Mix (regular candy corn, chocolate candy corn and the waxy candy pumpkins that are so sugary they burn the back of your throat). For the first two weeks of October, I eat it for a few days a handful at a time until I’m sick, throw the rest of the bag away, and buy another bag a few days later. Rinse, repeat.

Our neighborhood gets into cheesy holiday decorating, especially for Halloween.

The Enchanted Candy Corn Forest:

Le Chat Noir practicing his Halloween schtick on my dogs:

Dead Pirates seems to be a popular theme this year:

God, I hope that’s a broom…


Consequently, our neighborhood is a big draw for trick-or-treaters, and we usually get between 250-350 kids showing up at our door each year. Yes, we buy our candy at Costco.

While I no longer dress up beyond donning a witch hat, there’s one area where I still give my creative side free rein: pumpkin carving. No plastic, pre-carved, electric pumpkins for this femme! Only the old fashioned, messy, candle-lit version will do. I choose my pumpkins carefully, looking for those that have some irregularities or interesting shapes. This gets tougher each year, as the pumpkins available seem to be bred more and more for uniformity. I often have to splurge on the more exotic varieties to get some gourd diversity, and wait to carve until just a few days before the holiday to avoid mold. Like a mad murderess, I savor the whole process, that first barbaric stab of the knife, the smell of pumpkin guts as I evicerate, the design that seems to spring from the shape and personality of the gourd itself, and especially the finished product. While my jack-o-lanterns are a bit rough due to my freehand filet knife technique and would never impess the Martha Stewarts of the world, I do think they have a lot of personality.

I had taken more pictures last year with the jack-o-lanterns lit up, but lost them when our hard drive crashed before we could back up all of the picture files.

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  1. citizen spot
    October 22, 2007 / 4:35 am

    I sure hope that is a broom too. One can only hope that the “witch” was not just put up as a cautionary warning. No one wants to be reminded of the explosive diarhea one might get from eating all of their collected candy on Halloween night.
    I like your pumpkins. Do you roast the seeds? And the candy corn reminds me of a certain sullen teenage neighbor who used to practically live on our fugly green couch back in the day. But his dog, Mod, was cool.

  2. October 22, 2007 / 5:03 am

    Oy, I’d forgotten about that!

    No I don’t roast the seeds, but every year I fully intend to.

  3. October 22, 2007 / 2:54 pm

    Maybe when the kids are older I’ll have time to roast the seeds. That is one of my favorite memories from my childhood.

    I’ll never forget the year we persuaded our folks to buy a huge orange-red pumpkin. Dad helped us carve it with the scariest bunch of long thin pointed teeth you ever saw. Then, as he carried it around to the front of the house, he dropped it. Yes, it was huge, as even my dad had trouble carrying it! But he told us not to worry, and got some string and a heavy needle and ice pick, and actually stitched it back together. It looked even scarier with its “scars!”

    Three cheers for the silly, tacky, wacky, all-ages, non-religious fun that is Halloween. I even impulse-purchased a seasonal mug at Starbucks this morning!

  4. October 22, 2007 / 4:08 pm

    Breaking news: cutest ever fabric Hayden-Hartnett eyeglasses cases at Anthropologie. Now, back to work.

  5. October 23, 2007 / 12:12 am

    I can’t believe you get 225+ trick-or-treaters! That’s a busy night and you must get to see some very cute costumes. Since we moved to our little island, we’ve never had more than 15, but I always buy candy enough for 40, just in case (just in case I need some really junky chocolate-and-nuts–and sticky-stuff!)

  6. citizen spot
    October 23, 2007 / 4:03 am

    I had the pleasure of visiting Half Moon Bay today, and there were pumpkins galore. All shapes and sizes, fresh off the vine. I did not, however, ride a pony. I did witness some women on horses on the beach, one of whom was smoking a cigarette. A cigarette? On a horse? Can’t it wait? Why not drink your cosmo too while your at it. WTF? And I saw two women taking a pony (perhaps r&r from one of the many pumpkin patch/pony ride roadside attractions) for a walk on the beach. Kind of like a really big dog. They did not, to my knowledge, play fetch. I love HMB, especially when it is sunny and warm and the surf is up. Wait, this is late October. Hmmmmm.

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