The Jack O’Lantern’s afterglow

In Halloween’s wake I am digesting tiny Twix candy bars, tidying a kitchen sticky with guts from a hastily carved pumpkin and feeling grateful for life’s sweetest moments.

A steady wave of Trick or Treaters made their way to our door Wednesday night and they were all — unicorns, dinosaurs, super heroes and villains — unfailingly polite.

Because our Halloween night (and those proceeding it) were especially hectic around here, I had not planned to carve either of the two pumpkins sitting on our porch.

“If I don’t carve them, I can keep them up until Thanksgiving,” I rationalized.

But, right in the middle of the Halloween frenzy, a young friend of mine who was staying with me said, “Hey! Can we carve a pumpkin?”

I reluctantly agreed and laughed as he ran outside and hauled the biggest one in.

We wrestled with the crown a little, yanked it off, and scooped out its disgusting entrails…all while periodically answering the door and handing out candy.

Carving pumpkins is my least favorite Halloween activity. My grandpa was a butcher but I did not inherit his knife skills. I think the inside of a pumpkin smells kind of gross and, on those years when I do take the time to separate and season them, I generally burn the seeds.

But, if there’s a holiday to celebrate, I’m going to go all in.

So, I dug in and we spent a chunk of time slicing, scooping, sorting, separating — answering the door — slicing, scooping, sorting, separating — answering the door.  Eventually we produced a respectable Jack O’Lantern.

I couldn’t find a lighter so I stuck a small flashlight in him and hustled him outside.

In the Jack O’Lantern’s afterglow, my porch looked both celebratory and spooky and it acted as a muted spotlight for the happy people passing by. I stood out there a moment admiring our handiwork.

Halloweens, Jack O’Lanterns and the childhood they represent pass by so quickly. Though I felt momentarily overwhelmed, I’m really glad we took the time to celebrate this one thoroughly.

And, as November begins, I’m grateful for so many things — lively neighborhoods, earnest children, bite-sized candy bars and stubborn pumpkins that eventually become glowing Jack O’Lanterns.


2 thoughts on “The Jack O’Lantern’s afterglow

  1. Our weather was bad Halloween — cold and rainy early in the evening so the little ones stayed home. We usually so enjoy seeing the costumes. We got a few older trick or treaters.

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