October 27, 2019: A Chaos of Carving

My awful Jack is on the far left.

I’ve always believed the carving of the Jack o’ Lanterns to be the glowing, orange heart of the Halloween Season, and as such we’ve always treated it like a solemn ritual—thoughtfully choosing the sacrifice, painstakingly practicing the pattern, carefully laying out our implements, taking our time transforming the gourd into a goblin while we drink Autumn cordials and watch Halloween movies.

Now that we’re a family of five in my house, it gets…chaotic.

My five-year-old is far too confident with her abilities with a mini-saw.

My nine-year-old is a perfectionist who wants to carve entire Guernicas into the thick, unyielding pumpkin rind.

My one-year-old crawls around the floor grabbing anything shiny or slimy.

And my dog thinks anything we stick a knife into is technically edible.

We threw on The Nightmare Before Christmas, a movie I’ve always believe was a Christmas movie (although I’ll watch it anytime), mostly because it takes place in November and December and is all about saving Christmas (like every other Christmas movie). But if I needed another proof point that it’s more yule than ghoul, it’s the obvious incongruity I felt carving pumpkins while watching it. I’m surprised we didn’t all end up with angels and Christmas trees and snowmen cut into the Jack o’ Lanterns.

By the end of the night, we suffered through artistic meltdowns, borderline-psychotic pumpkin-cutting obsessions, near-death experiences, dog sickness, and probably other things that I was too shell-shocked to notice.

On top of that, my Jack-o is probably the worse I’ve ever done, which makes sense as it was the best pumpkin I’ve ever found. That’s the way life always works. I’m just happy that we all made it through the night without shedding any blood.

And, in the end, as all Jack-o’s do, they look great together despite their flaws. Like families in general.