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.