Monday, October 31, 2005

The great pumpkin carving challenge

See these pumpkins sitting on my dining room table? I carved one of them last night. Can you guess which one is mine? (Hint: it’s the mean looking pumpkin with the bushy eyebrows.)

I am quite proud of my pumpkin, which I hope will frighten dozens of children tonight when they go door-to-door asking for candy. If one child bursts into tears of terror after seeing my pumpkin’s evil scowl, all of my hard work will have been worth it.

My friends Annelle and Leandro, who didn’t quite seem to grasp the fact that Halloween is supposed to be scary, carved the “cute cat” and “grinning idiot” pumpkins.

It’s not their fault. They didn’t know any better. They’ve never carved a pumpkin before. Annelle even made the rookie mistake of saying she’d bring over a few stencils. Stencils! There is no greater affront to the art of pumpkin carving than stencils. It’s as crass and uncreative as paint-by-numbers.

Every pumpkin purist knows all you need is a sharp knife and a black marker. Of course, a well-executed pumpkin also needs a well-executed plan.

I spent a few days thinking about a design for my pumpkin. After much deliberation, I decided a down-turned mouth, squinty eyes and huge caterpillar eyebrows would be the best way to convey a menacing expression.

I showed a sketch to my friends after dinner. Their response? “It took you two days to come up with that?”

Amateurs! I should have known they could not appreciate the subtle genius of my design.

I laid down several layers of newspaper on the living room floor and we got to work. My favourite part was reaching in the hole to pull out the seeds and stringy membrane with my bare hands. Of course, Annelle and Leandro used a soup ladle.

Despite our collective lack of artistic ability, all three pumpkins turned out great. We put candles inside them and turned out the lights in my apartment to see how they would look. At that moment, I think we all became about eight years old again.

All three Jack O’Lanterns will be on display tonight. They will be sitting on Annelle’s porch since she’s the only one who actually lives in a house. Children living in the 18th and Cambie neighbourhood are invited to view these masterpieces between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m.

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