When I was a boy Halloween was an entire season, as long as summer and more colorful than Christmas. A childhood holiday filled with orange and brown, yellow and amber, pumpkins and Autumn leaves, bright moons and starry nights. Going out in costume was not all there was to Halloween.
Weeks before, we went to a pumpkin farm and rummaged for the perfect shape and size. Then we traced out the pattern on the pumpkin face where we would cut out some demonic expression suitable for scaring away the goblins. Then the actual surgery and the placing of the candles inside. Where to position our grotesque friend? It had to be a different spot each year. Of course, each holiday we became more and more accomplished at our carving and cutting. 25 years ago, I taught my sons the ancient art of pumpkin carving. Now I teach it to my granddaughter and in the fullness of time she will teach it to her children and grandchildren.
Here are some pumpkins to spark the imagination (click on image for larger view).
1. Scary Halloween, 2. Happy Halloween!, 3. What's so funny?, 4. I am a Pumpkin Head, 5. pumpkin lit, 6. Jack-o-lanterns, 7. Day 19 - Jack's ready for Halloween, 8. Mario, 9. 2006 Loki, 10. 2006 Here's Johnny!!!, 11. pumpkins, 12. Jack, 13. 7, 14. wheeeee!, 15. First Snow and Pumpkins, 16. Jack-O-Lighting, 17. IMG_0096, 18. spiac-o-lantern, 19. Pumpkins I, 20. Dressed for the Season, 21. Silly Face, 22. Pumpkins, 23. Monsters In My Sleep, 24. Puking pumpkin, 25. Glenview - Halloween 2006 - Pumpkin 4 - Dark
And in this manner we pass on the most important thing you can give a child: colorful memories. My parents are no longer alive but when I recall the memories of my mom and dad it is of a time when all things were young and filled with bright colors and fragrant smells.
The first carnival I ever went to I was 4 years old. I remember the carousel with the metallic colors of the horses and the oily smell of sparks from the train engines pulling a carload of children. I remember the smell of vanilla ice cream and the beauty of its buttery texture, its perfect spherical shape and the cold shimmer floating above it. I remember going here and there holding unto both my parents' hands trying to choose which ride to go on next.
We came to America in 1949 and from that day on my parents celebrated whatever holidays I brought home from school. Days before Lincoln's Birthday (February 12th) I brought home silhouette cutouts of his profile. Of course the first holiday that schools in those days would celebrate was Halloween. The classrooms and hallways would be filled with all sorts of artwork and drawings and leaves glued on poster-paper and spider webs and orange-colored card-boards with pumpkin cutouts. This went on for a month before actual Halloween. When we fail to celebrate Halloween we fail as parents to give our children memories.
Here is an entry in the World of Warcraft 2005 Pumpkin Carving Contest (Click for larger Image):
And if that doesn't bother you, Samantha Burns links to some Offensive Costumes For Halloween.
And now here is my own pumpkin cutout that took me over 30 pumpkins and a few hundred hours of microsurgery and painstaking effort (hint: it should look like a favorite movie star of mine):
Others Plodding through Pumpkin Patches or wearing Costumes:
The Clash of Civilizations, Blog no longer active, Halloween : Less Pagan, More Money-Makin'
So, again, in October, our economy stimulated by the sharp upspike in candy, costume, and party sales - and there's a chance for everyone to enjoy a bit of family and neighborly togetherness. And if you want, lay a bet on Frankenstein costumes - they're a classic. So I think many in the Jewish community need to ease up a little. It's only candy. And MOST of it is kosher.
If you wait long enough you can pick up pumpkins cheaply:
Pumpkin Picking in Northwest Ohio
(Toledo, OH) We completed an annual family ritual today, driving out to our favorite pumpkin patch on Albon Road and the turnpike.
Given the fact that Halloween is almost upon us, the proprietor of the farm had dropped his prices to $1 for every pumpkin we picked.
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy - Trick-or-Treat!, Excerpt: Treat the Gunny and nobody gets
hurt tricked. You know I’ve got plenty of tricks up my sleeve, don’t you?