Wednesday, 29 October 2008

My kids like carving pumpkins

I dread hallowe'en.

I dread hallowe'en because I might be hounded by Evangelical Christians and forced to justify why I am serving the devil in an unholy festival of evil by encouraging my kids to hollow out pumpkins. And because I have no smart argument ready to defend myself, I have to say, My kids like carving pumpkins.

I dread hallowe'en because some ancient old hippie like myself might make me justify why my kids are carving out pumpkins when we all know that here in the UK when we were kids there were never any pumpkins, there were turnips. And we didn't carve those out either. And now we are awash with American culture and it is all my fault. And because I can't defend myself against these charges, I have to say, My kids like carving pumpkins.

I dread hallowe'en in case I am challenged by Dark Earth Mother who is into Samhain and Beltane and knows all the phases of the moon and thinks I am an ignorant arse for letting my kids absorb a commercialised invention from a capitalist culture that is destroying the planet. Everyone knows this time of year is an ancient pagan festival nicked by Christians. And all I can say to her is, My kids like carving pumpkins.

I dread hallowe'en in case I am faced down on my own doorstep by some miniature ghoul got up in a black plastic cape and fake fangs, all from Tesco at a cost of 12.99. He'd be banging on the door demanding protection money in the form of Mars Bars, while his dad carries a box of eggs. Then I'll have to fess up that we don't have any sweets because we don't like that trick-treating stuff, and all hallowe'en is to us is the excuse to carve out pumpkins, because My kids like carving pumpkins.

And on hallowe'en I dread the sad, disappointed faces of Squirrel, Shark and Tiger if they don't carve out pumpkins. I buy three; one each. We attend a special pumpkin carving workshop, where all the kids make fantastic pumpkin scarecrows to be exhibited round an outdoor arts space on the 31st. I think preparation for hallowe'en doesn't come any better than this. Especially for kids who like carving pumpkins.

Ghost by Shark.
And believe me, suspending that head above that sheet wasn't easy.

Blue by Tiger.
Or Evil blue, to Mr Evil and Blue Evil of Doom.
No-one could quite decide.

The Sun, by Squirrel.
This pumpkin doesn't have a body because suns don't have bodies.
(It is also much, much better than last year when Squirrel carved
'Man walking a dog'.


Brad said...

Personally I just like to roast the seeds.

Bloody Yanks ruin everything...

The Boisterous Butterfly said...

I lived in the States with my kids growing up there and did all the Halloween stuff, which to me as a Dutch woman was totally alien. Still, you adjust and learn to carve pumpkins and to eat massive amounts of candy. I don't miss it one bit now, as I think it's become hugely commercialized and the kids have gotten greedy at the door. They only want the expensive candy. I don't think it is a quaint holiday anymore at all, except for the pumpkin carving and maybe we should leave it at that, even at turnips.

Mean Mom said...

Excellent pumpkin carving! 'Man walking dog' must have been worth seeing!

I dislike Halloween, but was oddly disappointed when we had no trick or treaters, last year. This year we had 9 and I was thrilled. Even I don't understand myself, sometimes!

sharon said...

Plenty of pumpkin soup at the Pile then Grit.

Not too sure about Hallowe'en myself. On balance I think it's a big American con but ... we do tend to get sweets in now as the children here go to great lengths to dress up but it's a bit hit and miss as to whether any actually turn up at our door. This year there were none and I had to force myself to eat all the chocolate as dh is not too fond of milk chocolate, sad isn't it?! It wasn't a big thing when my 'boys' were small for which I am very grateful!

obeerg said...

I am a dark Earth Mother, who knows all about Samhain and Beltaine and the moon....but I would like to add that "My kids like carving pumpkins too", it's definately the best bit. We spent the day worshipping the dead - oh no wait, we didn't - we spent it a pumpkin carving workshop too.
I'm very thankful that we don't have to carve those awful white mangleworzel things anymore like we did when I was a girl. Thank you America!

mamacrow said...

i carved oranges when I was a kid... difficult to get pumkins...

but something magical about making your own lantern.

and celebrations and festivals should be by the people for the people anyhow, so surely whatever you want to do with your family is totally valid, so long as you respect other people doing it differently?

i hate carving pumkins, but I think it's because we've never been to a pumkin carving workshop.. something to add to the list for next year!

Mud in the City said...

Next year I might try carving a turnip instead.

Elizabeth said...

Hate to put a damper on the 'Hate American festival' fest--but the Halloween festivities basically come from Ireland-where, yes they did use turnips rather than pumpkins--and yes--even the trick-or-treat bit is ancient! Except for Thanksgiving and the 4th of July-most holidays/customs were imported to America. Not created there. We just now how to blow them out of proportion!

Grit said...

hi brad! excellent. i can now blame the americans for that curry paste going mouldy in the fridge. you are a real trooper to take the wrap for that.

hi bb! oh my goodness! you have children round there with tastes for expensive candy! round here i am sure they would be happy with a sherbert dib dab from the post office.

hi mean mom; squirrel's efforts last year had to be explained to us all. no-one could see the man, or the dog.

do you know sharon, i am forcing myself to eat some lindt 70% truffle, cherry and chilli. i cannot recommend it highly enough.

you have a good point ooberg! dig says his family carved swedes. (actually he calls them turnips because he is northumbrian, which just adds to the astonishment as far as i'm concerned.)

hi mamacrow! oranges! that is a very cool idea and we shall try that!

mud, do you mean turnips or swedes?

elizabeth! this is what's great about blogging. i always learn something new.

mamacrow said...

oh yeah, forgot to add, trick or treating kinda comes from the north, though it gets muddled with mischief night or whatever it was called. you should be able to find something on wikipedia...

and the oranges - it can be a little tricky and a little messy, but worth it cos when you have a tea light in them they smell GORGEUS!