Pumpkin Carving With No Blood Spilled

This week I was looking forward to having coffee on Wednesday morning with my dearest friend; between our clashing schedules this has been in planning stages for five weeks. Tuesday afternoon, Mark came out of the school with a little yellow post-it note in his hand, on which was written “Bring pumpkin carving knives tomorrow, please come Mom.” Apparently his class was pumpkin carving with their buddy class, and volunteers were needed so that no children would lose a digit and/or limb. I was by no means confident that I would be the best person to volunteer for this job, given that the last time I volunteered when sharp objects were utilized was when Mark was in kindergarten and the class was making birdhouses out of milk cartons; I managed to slice my hand open not once but twice during that shift. However, I couldn’t resist Mark and his begging eyes and so I agreed. Also he had already told his teacher that I would surely be able to make it; I cancelled my coffee date and slipped a bottle of Motrin into my purse.

My husband was more than a little alarmed when I told him of my project; he thought I should take his drywall knife, as being the safest object in our house with which to carve pumpkins. I have to say, he’s right. I was able to slice the tops off several pumpkins in short order, with no blood involved. If you have a drywall knife, I highly recommend it for pumpkin carving.

Have you ever walked through a school with a drywall knife in your hand? It’s a pretty uneasy feeling. I had it wrapped in bubble wrap for optics and safety, but I was still pretty nervous about it. What if a kid bumped into me while I was carrying it? What if a child grabbed the knife? So many things could go wrong but luckily none did; plus, it seems like I have to do the same exact thing next week for Jake’s class.

Mark’s buddy class is a kindergarten one, and it’s been a while since I’ve been around five-year-olds. Hoo boy, some of them are sure whiny. One little girl was – to the general alarm of the other members of her group – drawing hard-to-carve things like eyelashes, plus three large circles where the nose was supposed to be. I conferred with their group and helped them cut out the face, using one of those circles as a nose. The little artiste flipped out, saying that I needed to cut the circles on either side of the nose. “Those are her CHEEEEEEEKS,” she whined, “I need her to have cheeks. I WAAAAAAANT CHEEEEEEEEEEEKS.” It was very grating, but I wielded my power as volunteer-mom-with-drywall-knife and acquiesced to the requests of the other four members of the group, which was to leave the pumpkin without giant circles taken out of the face. The whining was bad enough, but the thought of the pumpkin with cut-out cheeks? Creepy as hell.

As if I haven’t had enough of pumpkins, we have our four giant ones to carve this weekend, plus we need to put up all our spooky decorations. Since I’ve already started buying Christmas decorations, and making up this year’s holiday card, and – thanks to my on-the-ball sister-in-law – I’m three-quarters of the way done Christmas shopping…I should probably focus some efforts on Halloween. There isn’t much to do except monitor the mini chocolate bar levels in the pantry – I keep buying them and two young people who are not me keep eating them.

Have you heard about the lady who wrote to “Dear Prudence“, asking her advice on how to handle trick-or-treaters who are not residents of her neighbourhood? This pitiable woman lives on one of the more modest streets in one of the “wealthiest neighbourhoods in the country” (Beverly Hills? Park Avenue? I don’t know.) and she is unhappy with hordes of poor children who do not reside in her neighbourhood trick-or-treating at her house. I mean, is Halloween supposed to be a charitable act? Is she supposed to just provide candy to just anyone? Maybe these errant trick-or-treaters should be frisked and asked to show ID with a current address on it. This poor woman is only in the “doctors, lawyers, and business owner” section of the neighbourhood, not the “billionaires, famous people, and media moguls” section. Those boxes of chocolates can run $10 each, so really, she is in a terrible situation. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE IN HALLOWEEN? She shouldn’t have to give out candy to JUST ANYBODY, least of all those impoverished ruffians. WHAT DOES SHE PAY TAXES FOR IF SHE HAS TO PROVIDE POOR CHILDREN WITH CANDY ON HALLOWEEN, GODDAMMIT?

I bet you anything she does that “Switch Witch” thing.

On a more pleasant note, I was purchasing some lotion at Bath and Body Works, and the fellow at the counter kept calling me Miss. Miss! I felt youthful and full of vigour, until I overheard him talking to his co-worker with regards to some sale signage. “I can’t see clearly, I don’t have my contacts in today.” Well, okay then. I’ll still take it. It’s kind of nice to be viewed in soft-focus, not unlike Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca.


  1. I do not understand people who bitch about giving candy to trick or treaters. You don’t want to hand it out? It’s very simple. Turn off your porch light and don’t put out any decorations. DONE. SOLVED.

  2. Ugh the Dear Prudence person. I hand out candy to virtually anyone who comes to my door in anything even remotely resembling a costume because otherwise I’m going to have a ton of leftover candy and then I’m going to eat it all. For crying out loud, just give out the candy to everyone or quit giving any out at all.

    ANYWAY, the volunteering is relevant to my life because as I’ve mentioned, probably too often, Oldest and Youngest are 6.5 years apart. So this year Oldest is in middle school and Youngest is in kindergarten. The point I’m slowing coming to is that I volunteered for the first time today in Youngest’s classroom. It’s been quite a long time since I volunteered in a class of really young kids and I was completely worn out by the fidgeting, wiggling, and lack of listening of 26 Ks. Youngest’s teacher is a saint.

    Finally, about 15 years ago I snapped off the top of Husband’s very favorite Henkels knife trying to carve a pumpkin. I’ve been off pumpkin carving duty since then…

  3. We carved our pumpkins last night with no blood spilled as well, although June didn’t finish hers (she had a party to attend and left mid-carving) so I guess I shouldn’t jinx her by saying that. One year we grew our own pumpkins and I guess mine wasn’t quite ripe when I tried to carve it because there was a ring of green between the skin and the flesh and it was really, really hard to cut. I might have broken a knife on that one.
    I almost wonder if that Dear Prudence letter is for real or someone was trying to put her on, but that could be overly optimistic about human nature.

  4. I agree with StephLove. The Dear Prudence person was so awful, I think the writer was a fake. Although then you have to wonder what kind of jerk is entertained by writing that sort of fake letter.

  5. We don’t even HAVE pumpkins yet. I don’t carve – remember how I once dislocated a rib by breathing? I think we can all agree that access to sharp objects around large gourds is not something I should be given. All I had to do for my voodoo doll costume was rip up a dress and sew a heart on it and cobble together some fake pins, and that almost broke me. And decorating? *sobs*. I did say I would take Eve to the goddamned Halloween dance rather than letting her best friend’s mom take her because it’s her last year at the school and there is an infinitesimal chance that I will actually miss it next year (I’m never going to miss it). And sadly, I’m dead certain the Dear Prudence letter is for real. People suck, yo. Not all of them, but a much bigger proportion than you’d initially suspect. Anyone who works retail knows I’m right.

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