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The Great Pumpkin

October 27, 2009

I have lots of childhood memories of Halloween but pumpkin carving doesn’t make the list. My grandfather, Pa Bill, was a farmer in Louisiana and grew pumpkins (among many other things) so there must have been one or two through the years. I just don’t remember carving one. Now as an adult, things are different and Halloween isn’t complete until a glowing, snaggletooth pumpkin joins the rest of the holiday decorations.

For the last several weeks I’ve been talking with Lilly about Halloween, costumes and pumpkins. She’s really focused on the pumpkins. After weeks of seeing them at the grocery store and in books, she was overjoyed when she finally got to choose one and bring it home!


She is 18 months old now and loves to help. Yard work, emptying the dishwasher or folding the laundry – you name the task and she’ll try it. Ok, we’re still working on the laundry, but she’s quite good at the other two. We were hoping she would help gut and carve the pumpkin so Craig gave her a quick tutorial on proper tool usage and technique. After some hesitation, she sized up the pumpkin and got right to it – she gutted with gusto.

They gathered their tools and brought the pumpkin inside. It was time to carve the face. Wanting to keep the face design simple since little fingers would be near sharp tools (and not feeling a lot of originality that day), I looked online for inspiration and found a face that met everyone’s approval.


Craig focused on the tricky business of carving while Lilly was appointed ‘Director of Carving and Design’. (A future art director in the making, perhaps?) They discussed the pumpkin’s features and decided to forego the nose. I think it was the right choice. They made a terrific team.


The only thing left to do was turn off the lights and place the candle inside the pumpkin. Once it was lit and the pumpkin began to glow, Lilly squealed and her grin grew wide. It was obvious she thought this was one of the best things she’s ever seen. To this point it probably is. Sharing this tradition with her for the first time and seeing her reaction was a memory I’ll always cherish.

I can hardly wait to see what she thinks of Christmas.

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