I really like Halloween. Although I don't get excited about it as I used to, I still really like a lot of stuff about it. I think part of the reasons I like Halloween is that (at least in my eyes) it is a very creative holiday. When I was a child, we NEVER bought my costume. I, and to a much larger extent my mother, would make my costume every year. We would also go overboard and turn the entire front yard into a graveyard including having Death (with scythe in hand) hanging from the attic window. Although those may not be things we really do anymore, this year we still carved jack o'lanterns.
I can't remember the last time I carved a pumpkin, but this time I wanted to choose a design that was geeky and would require some effort and patience. I went to the interwebs for inspiration and found some pretty interesting stuff. Without meaning to, I found a picture that inspired my mother to carve the pumpkin you see on the left here. Pretty awesome. That pumpkin just makes me smile when I look at it. The pumpkin on the right my dad carved...with a CHISEL. It's pretty hardcore and creepy. I think it's safe to say I have the coolest parents ever.
It took me a while to pick a design. I saw a ton of geektastic pumpkins out there, my favorite probably being a Deathstar jacko'lantern that was intense. If you search for "geeky pumpkins", it's one of the first things that comes up. Everything I found seemed to require way more carving talent than I had faith I have, or was overdone. For example, I love the idea of pumpkin pi, but it feels like everyone and their cousin has made a jack o'lantern with the pi symbol on it.
Anyway, this is what I ended up making. If you recognize it, I give you so many geekpoints. It is the white tree from Lord of the Rings, the crest of Gondor....or at least one interpretation of it. The hardcore Ringers out there will probably point out I did not include the seven stars, but to you I say....I ran out of room at the top. I really like how it came out.
After sticking a candle in mine and mom's, I put them on the front steps. (Dad's is even creepier when it is half lit from the porch light.)
Today I heard a weird noise out front and realized it was a kid getting dropped off by a bus. I happened to catch the kid staring at our front porch and grinning. I am going to assume it was because of the pumpkins. The big question now is, was he laughing because he is a LOTR dork, he is amused by a pumpkin cyclops, or because it's really just polite to smile at a jack o'lantern that is smiling that big at you?
One of the best parts about carving pumpkins, though, is nomming the seeds. From all those pumpkin guts, my mother patiently separated the seeds (while I was still carving). We left them out to dry last night. Today I tossed them with some oil and seasoning before baking them for about 20 minutes or so. Instead of just doing plain salt, I sprinkled them with an herb seasoning mix that is meant for popcorn. I figured if it's good enough for popcorn, it's good enough for pumpkin seeds. I think they came out pretty tasty.
And the picture above amuses me because when I first uploaded it, it was upside down and looked like a delicious pumpkin seed stalactite. Mmm...
Until next time.