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Pumpkin guts never get old

In a few short days it will be Halloween. As usual, we can see the Christmas decorations peeking out from behind the costumes and plastic pumpkins in the stores. I feel like any minute they’ll explode through the Halloween displays like they’ve been launched out of a slingshot.

I’ve already seen “holiday” commercials and flyers. They don’t say to what holiday they’re referring, but it’s understood that the sparkly ladies wear and major appliances are on sale for that holiday season that starts right after the sun rises on the first day of November. And then begins the two month long onslaught of nonstop advertising for that season.

But for now, in this lull before the marketing storm, there is Halloween. The farewell-to-autumn, and hello-to-fun-size-candy-bars celebration. Let the reveling in costumes, pumpkins and apple cider commence.

When I was a kid, I loved Halloween. It was the one night I could run through the neighborhood like the masked avenger, wielding my pillowcase full of candy, and yelling “trick or treat” at the top of my lungs. Yes, I was that kid.

I loved carving pumpkins. Well, actually I loved when the carving was done and a candle was firmly anchored in the bottom, glowing fiercely out of the scary face I had created.

The actual carving left something to be desired, I thought. We usually carved our pumpkins outside because there were six kids in my family and we each had a pumpkin. The sheer logistics of that many slimy pumpkin seeds in my mother’s kitchen made it very obvious to all involved that we must carve them outside.

So, in the cold wind of late October, I was up to my elbows in chilly, slippery yuck, pulling the guts out of a gigantic pumpkin and trying to scrape the inside clean enough to carve it.

The end result was worth it though. Our house had more pumpkins on the front steps than any other on the street. And we were quite the roving gang of costumed hooligans since there were so many of us.

When Halloween was over, we still had those pillowcases filled with candy. In those days, that much candy allowed the fun to continue for at least a week, as we made our riches last as long as possible.

I think today, kids get into Halloween just as much as we did when we were kids. Pumpkins, costumes and candy never really get old. Time enough for the holidays that follow Halloween.

We’ll celebrate them too, when they get here. But for now, I’ll be up to my elbows in pumpkin guts, carving out a spooky face, and having a few fun-sized Milky Ways in the process. Happy Halloween!

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