The smell of hot, buttery popcorn, fresh oranges and slices of watermelon filled the Saturday morning air. Every since I’ve known, it has been a tradition in our family to frequent the Eastern Market on Saturday Morning, taking in the aromas of freshly picked fruit and gently picked flowers. The feel of the crowd rushing by was an adrenaline rush. All of those memories flooded back as soon as we hit Russell Street. I felt at safe and at home once again.
Our mission on this particular saturday was to find the perfect Jack-O-Lantern.
Everyone has their our own idea of what they believe to be the prefect one, so of course we went to several vendors to appease everyone’s appetite. My criteria was as follows: deep orange, rounder in the middle, a medium stem and evenly ridged. I found mine at the second vendor we went to for 2 bucks! You will not find a big, curvaceous, orange pumpkin for that price at any grocery store. So we loaded up, everyone making sure they picked the perfect fruit.
After all of our purchases were finalized, we headed straight home and into the backyard. Loading up on newspaper, knives, spoons and bowls; without hesitation we made our first incision into the tops of the fruit. I forgot how physically demanding and tedious it was to scoop clean the walls of the pumpkin, but it was worth it. As children, my siblings and I could only get the smaller gourds, and so instead of carving them, we simply drew whatever came to mind on the outside of it. SO this was the first year we could actually dig out their innards and carve into them.
After scraping out seeds and pulp for what I would consider roughly 15 minutes, we finally got on to the fun stuff. Etching our ideas onto the fruit with pencil first, and then with carving knives, carefully making incisions along our rough hand drafts.
This is how they turned out.
The youngest sided on inscribing a Dracula esque jack-o-lantern with fangs as its prominent teeth. Carefully, she added faux blood along side the edges of his mouth.
My older sister etched a traditional jack, with diamond shaped eyes, and pointy, jagged teeth.
I on the other hand could not decide on one idea so I went with a couple. My first thought was to craft into my pumpkin a witch on her broomstick, pointed hat and all, flying just below the moon. After not being satisfied with how it turned out, I added a wolf adjacent to her, howling at the engraved circle.
And since my second youngest sister didn’t want to think up her own idea, she added a little from everyone else’s, adding vampire teeth, a side ways long, triangle nose, and triangle eyes. So original.
And we stayed out til sunset, drinking coke and carving pumpkins. just us girls.
What do your pumpkin carvings look like?