I love carving pumpkins. I like taking the most complicated pattern I can find, pinning it to a pale orange pumpkin that is perfectly shaped, connecting the dots with the cheapest knife ever invented, putting a candle inside of it, and looking at it in the bathroom with the lights off with my family. Halloween is wonderful.
I know this post is a little late, but I got to thinking last night about things that have made me happy in the past little while, and carving pumpkins was the first to come up. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday (except in high school when I said it was St. Patrick's day because my last name is Irish and I thought telling people the Irish holiday was my favorite sounded cool, and even then it was Halloween). I'm not much for getting scared, but I do like dressing up, I like seeing kids in their costumes, and I've always liked carving pumpkins, but not in the way I like it now.
This post is in no way a knock at my parents. They made growing up a blast, but pumpkins weren't really their forte, and who can blame them? To turn out a truly respectable pumpkin can take an hour (and that's just carving; forget about mucking out a pumking, choosing a pattern, and cleaning up after the fiasco). My TRUE love of carving came when I married my true love. My wife grew up carving intricut pumpkins every year she was able (she even did George Washington praying by his horse one year...). Her mom is really crafty, saw carving pumpkins on a tv show or something, and started drawing their own patterns because, as she said, "They didn't make patterns back then, we just had to draw our own." Now it's a big tradition that I'm even getting my family in to. Every year we all pick either hard, or the centimental pattern(s), carve them and either have a neighbor come over to judge them, or take them to an uncle's house to display. With my inlaws, we deided to have a Tim Burton Halloween, so we carved characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Alice in Wonderland, along with Herman and Grandpa Munster thrown in for good measure. We got out patterns at http://www.zombiepumpkins.com/. It didn't cost much (especially compared to getting the little books at the store) and our pumpkins turned out great. My mother inlaw put them on Facebook and when my mom had my dad look at them he thought it was a display for the company! Really good times.
After I thought about this for a while last night, something occurd to me: Inlaws get a really crumby wrap that I don't think they deserve. Don't get me wrong, I don't always agree with my inlaws, and there are times when I understand why someone might feel the stereotypical way about them, but I think we just don't give them a chance. Getting married is wonderful. You get to learn a bunch of new things, and acquire a bunch of new traditions that can turn into your favorite things, like carving pumpkins for me. I don't know as I'll ever agree with my inlaws perfectly, but I'll always try to remember pumpkin carving, green olives filled with easy cheese, and my beautiful wife. They started all that stuff for me and a whole lot more and I should be a little more thankful. So I guess, in a way, this post is right on time: wrapping up Halloween and heading right into Thanksgiving. I guess my take home message is be thankful and if you didn't carve pumpkins this year, do it next year. If you did carve pumpkins, but were lame sauce and chose a wussy pattern, choose a cooler one next year; it'll take more time, but you'll be glad you did.