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How hard can it be to carve a pumpkin?

by Traci Schumacher on Fri, 11/01/2013 - 1:47pm
Our happy pumpkin

For some reason I waited until Wednesday, the very day before Halloween, to attempt the carving of the pumpkin. The kids were excited, the table was covered with newspaper, the carving set was ready. Knife in hand, I commenced the cutting. Only this pumpkin had other ideas.

I had nonchalantly selected a pumpkin from Food Lion one day, kind of offhandedly thinking that carving it was something we should do. That it would be good for the kids, especially my little one, to have that experience. The pumpkin was bumpier than I expected, but I figured it would work all the same.

I don't know if it was the bumpy variety or that the pumpkin sat out in the field too long, as my aunt suggested. Whatever the reason, this was the hardest pumpkin in the world. I am sure of it. My large knife barely managed to pierce through, and then the pumpkin didn't want to give it up.

My kids encouraged me... “It's cutting! Not much more! It's not too hard!” But I knew better. This pumpkin was ready for a battle that I did not care to invest in. After struggling to cut a mere four inches at the top, I was ready to count my losses. I refused to use up my energy wrestling with a squash.

But the evening had marched on, and it was too late to run out to the store in search of a better pumpkin. I called my husband to find a new pumpkin on his way home from work. We would surely carve a pumpkin this year. The kids were so looking forward to it, and my little guy really wanted to scoop out the seeds.

So on Halloween afternoon, in that short span of time between getting home from school and preparing and eating dinner in order to go trick-or-treating, we carved a pumpkin. The new pumpkin was ridiculously easy to carve by comparison. So easy that each child was able to carve part of the face with the little carving tool.

I learned two things from pumpkin carving this year. First, if we carve a pumpkin again, we will do it a bit earlier to allow for any “issues” to be resolved. Like needing to buy a new pumpkin.

Second, we just might not carve a pumpkin again, at least not for quite a while. It turns out my youngest son didn't much like scooping seeds once he realized how messy and squishy it was. And my older two kids lost interest along the way. They did all manage to return in time to carve the face. I guess it was just the appeal of using the cutting tool that they really liked. But for me it just wasn't worth all the hassle. Been there, done that.

That being said, when we finished our pumpkin, I felt a distinct sense of triumph. We had triumphed over the vegetable, and he smiled happily atop our kitchen table.

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