Thursday, 18 October 2007

Pumpkintastic!

Perhaps it's my Protestant unpbringing, but I've never liked Hallowe'en. I have no interest in evil spirits, mysticism and magic, or feeding large amounts of sugar to the neighbourhood children begging at the door. When I lived in the UK I would hand out fruit. That taught them!

But I've obviously been living in North America for too long...

This year I have thrown aside all my caution and decided that with all its rampant commercialism and ridiculous traditions, I actually like Hallowe'en after all. I love the symbols of autumn and harvest that abound in these months, and figured that it's a short step from an artistic display of pumpkin, squash and gourds to a marvellously tacky carved Jack-O'-Lantern on the doorstep. Plus you get to dress up, and I'm always up for that! So I'm throwing myself into it with gay abandon.

Yesterday I had an unexpected day off work, so had my own personal pumpkin-fest. It's impossible to drive anywhere with me at this time of year without me being seduced by one of the many roadside stalls selling the fruits of the season. Whilst on my way back from town yesterday morning I came across the most amazing stall where I managed to pick up a great selection of pumpkins and squash. Take a look at these babies, lined up ready for the chop! The dollar-store carving-kit sits ready in the foreground. Strangely I also found a tin of pumpkin puree in the kitchen cupboard... yet another of those exciting things that I must have picked up in the supermarket, later realising that I hate pumpkin pie. D'oh!




Being a novice pumpkin-carver, I can't claim to have too many creative ideas for carving, but I can copy pretty well. Last year I went down the 'tasteful' route for my first ever carved pumpkin, and copied a design from the National Trust magazine. I was really pleased with it and displayed it on the doorstep for weeks. Until it rotted actually... Here it is - making a tentative stab at being a bit scary, but cute and smiley too:

This year however, none of that namby-pamby cute-and-smiley crap for me! I stumbled upon a fantastic website here and was immediately inspired. I don't suppose Hallowe'en was ever meant to be 'nice'... When you're up to your elbows in pumpkin-goo (these things are full of slime!) it somehow seems appropriate to make something like the 'Puking Pumpkin':


This was a simple one - little carving talent required - so then I decided to move onto something rather more ambitious... the 'Cannibal Pumpkin':


Boy, this one was trickier, especially those eyes (which I'm still not happy with... but what kind of sap gets too perfectionist about carving vegetables?!). It was a masterpiece of engineering to get that baby pumpkin to stay in its mouth. The scene was completed with the addition of a face to the teeny pumpkin, and a second scared-looking veg:


They're on the doorstep now and - nearly 2 weeks early - I'm ready for Hallowe'en! All thoughts of fruit forgotten, I have a bag of Walmart's best pumpkin-shaped-marshmallows to hand out to the scrounging kids. Their parents can deal with the ensuing sugar-high. My witches hat and wig is ready so, glass of 'blood' (red wine) in hand, I'll toast the Eve of All Hallows with a smile (and a witchy cackle!).

8 comments:

Leeanne said...

Your pumpkin carving is truely a sight to behold. I love the one with the 'puke' and the cannibal one.
I had my first go at pumpkin carving last year and, like you, it was very tame. You have inspired me to do something bigger and better this year.

Jody said...

You are A LOON!!!!!

I think pukin' pumpkin deserves a medal. Surely Rob was impressed?

Is this blog accessible via your web page the pendlentons in Canada??

Sandy said...

I love your pumpkins and your blog! Cannibal one is my favorite, I may swipe the idea myself.

Paola said...

Awesome, awesome post Norm!!! That sure had me laughing! I think you are quite the master carver there, btw! You've inspired me to make a puking pumpkin. :)

paola

PS: your blog is going on my list of favorites. :)

annauk said...

Fantastic!!
I'm so impressed by the canibal pumpkin - hysterical!

Your blog is great, well done!
xx

sarah hallett said...

hee hee
glad to see you've been thoroughly seduced into the North American traditions. Your pumpkins are fantastic- my personal favourite is the Cannibal- what does that say about me? I had left my pumpkins 'artily' sitting amongst some cabbages and leaves etc. Of course now duly inspired I will have to get the carving knife out! well done to you!! ps in a very nigella/martha way you must try bbc good food's recipe for pumpkin cake. I hate pumpkin in food but this has converted me, it's fab. Like a carrot cake but better!

Norm said...

Hi All, Thanks for the comments! Jody, I've put a link to this blog on our other website now.
I'm very amused by the idea that I may have started a puking/cannibal pumpkin craze... The puking one is SO easy - go for it everyone!

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