The hayride to the groves took us past a petting zoo of baby pigs, goats, and cows as well as a firing sling of the “untouchables.” Like a tiny vegetable graveyard, thousands of rotting pumpkins were smashed along the fields. A quick turn through the hills of colored leaves and we arrived at the pumpkin mother load. Thousands of beautifully grown pumpkins waited to be picked.
We stomped through the grounds, searching high and low…and before we knew it the five of us all picked different pumpkins. Like people, a pumpkin cannot be judged based on looks alone. Inside each pumpkin there is a Halloween soul waiting to be exposed. We needed to bring them home so each masterpiece could be revealed.
Luckily, the return hayride took us past corn fields, pony rides and carnival games, so that our frightened pumpkins did not see their fallen brethren in the pumpkin slaying fields. We paid for our bounty excited at their potential, and bought two more pumpkins for the rest of our team waiting at home. All in all we had eight pumpkins: one green one the size of a gumball, six average pumpkins between one and five pounds, and one monster pumpkin weighing in at 38 pounds.
When we arrived at home, the tables were covered in orange plastic sheets, the carving tools were distributed, and the snacks were devoured. Each individual bathed their dear pumpkin trying to find its potential.
Then, we hollowed out each pumpkin and began our work. My brother and sister-in-law found their pumpkins were free formed and set about drawing the face of their jack-o-lanterns. Our uncle had a mission selecting a scary pattern and sawing it into the face of his work of art. My stepfather-in-law was still emptying out the gargantuan father of all pumpkins and my mother-in-law was secretly pulling extra gourds from her Martha Stewart bag. My husband had disappeared.
We sawed with pumpkin carving tools, Henckel knives, drills, nails, toothpicks, and X-acto knives; until the pumpkins’ Halloween souls began to appear.
In no time at all, our uncle proclaimed, “Where are the candles?!”
While he had finished, my brother and sister-in-law were still perfecting. I was still sawing out the shape of a moon. My mother–in-law and stepfather-in-law were secretly slicing and dicing; using tooth picks. And my husband had just finished tracing a face onto his pumpkin.
Soon all of us had our pumpkins on the mantle. We oo’d and awe’d at each other’s art. My husband however, caught none of our discussion. He was still cutting. Then, as all of us discarded the pumpkins scraps, he was bathing his pumpkin. In everything, he is a perfectionist, and his work was rewarded. By the time his art joined the rest of ours, it was a spectacle.
There was no singular perfect pumpkin, they were all beautiful! We had the artistic simplicity of a skeleton and his cat, a black cat among tree branches, and a dragon in a full moon. We had the unique design of a barn owl with candle wick eyes. We had a vampire. We had a one eyed, one horned, one toothed, orange-people-eater that taught us even the smallest green pumpkin has potential (it’s the eye). AND if we had declared a winner, it would have been the fiery jack-o-lantern that looks fierce even without the blaze of a candle behind its eyes.