Thursday, October 27, 2011

#56: Carving Jack-O-Lanterns

Halloween is upon us. A time where kids get free candy, adults get drunk for really no good reason, and women around the world can dress like total floozies and not be judged. In short, Halloween is a magical time. Everyone has a role. The kids are mapping out the best houses to get king-sized candy bars and avoid the toothbrush house. The moms are safeguarding the variety pack of “fun size” candies (Sidenote: just because it is smaller does not make it more fun). But Dads have one of the most important roles of Halloween: carving the Jack-O-Lanterns (JoL).

It all begins with the trip to the pumpkin patch. Dad normally drags the kids to the open field to pick the best pumpkin. Normally this would fall under the boring category, but the fall season is a special time. The kids find the pumpkins and Dad inspects…always. It cannot be too big or too small. It cannot have dents or have a flat side. A pumpkin must pass the high standards of Dad in order to be worthy of JoL distinction.

Once the pumpkin has been chosen, it is off to the operating room aka the kitchen to morph the gourd into Jack. Dad lays down the newspaper to protect everything from the carnage and digs a knife into the top of the pumpkin. He scoops out all the goopy mess while the kids try not to gag from the smell. Dad it’s soooooo gross! Dad has the kids pick out all the seeds so they can roast and eat them, one of the few “meals” he can actually cook outside of Massive Sunday Breakfasts. Some Dads are artists and can make a very realistic JoL, but most just defer to the standard triangle eyes and the mouth with a tooth or two. Carving three holes is difficult enough, Dad just wants to get these babies on the porch as soon as possible.

Once they are complete, the JoLs get placed in proper order and their soul is created: the lighting of the candle. Dad will stand back and marvel at his craftsmanship thinking he is the best artist since Leonardo DaVinci, but really he just can cut a few holes into a vegetable without stabbing himself. Dad celebrates the completion of the task by sneaking a few Reeses Peanut Butter Cups from the candy bowl and finding his hiding spot to soak down those damn middle school pranksters with the garden hose. No eggs or toilet paper will hit Dad’s house. Not under his watch.

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