It’s been four years since I’ve been home for Halloween. Three of those years were spent in candle-free college dorms, and the fourth was in an anti-jack-o’-lantern apartment. So for four years straight I missed the annual pumpkin-carving. Not this year!
This year I split the carving duties with my dad, as always. I design the carvings, we both scoop out the insides, and then he does the actual cutting. (This division of labors dates back to a time when I was too little to be trusted with a kitchen knife. Some say I still am not to be trusted with a kitchen knife.)
This year was slightly different because for the first time we attempted jack-o-lanterns that were not traditional faces. I’m pretty sure that all of our previous Halloweens featured pumpkins with faces (although I might be forgetting something). We’ve had angry, happy, sad, scared, confused, even cat and dog faces. Here’s a typical sampling (Halloween 2004):
However, since this pumpkin-carving was the first since both my brother and I went to college, it was time for something new. He was the one who brought up the idea, by sharing a photo of a WSU jack-o-lantern to our mom. I said that I would only carve a WSU pumpkin if we also had an ASU pumpkin, and thus the college jack-o-lanterns were born.
Disclaimer: the WSU Cougar logo was done from a template found on the university’s Facebook page. The ASU pumpkin is hand-drawn, because I didn’t really see any templates I liked. I knew I wanted to do the new pitchfork logo, but I also added in the initials for good measure (since the Cougar logo accomplished both at once). It was also necessary here in Spokane, where Cougar Pumpkin received many compliments from trick-or-treaters who recognized it. The ASU attempt did get a glowing review from a Sun Devil hopeful, which was nice.
Overall, the college jack-o-lanterns made the carving more difficult for my dad, but he did a great job at executing the designs, as he always has. (See the swirly-eyed pumpkin in the 2004 photo for evidence.) Another new technique this year: toothpicks, which worked surprisingly well. The newcomers fit right in with the two “traditional” jack-o-lanterns we made – good and evil, naturally – and I think that we can write off this year’s pumpkin carving as a success.