Halloween is such an iffy time for Christians. Many refuse to acknowledge the holiday for fear they will encourage the pagan basis on which the holiday was founded, and others have no quams with gettings as bloody and demonic as the next guy.
Me, I like Halloween. I always enjoyed carving pumpkins and getting dressed up for trick or treating. On the other hand, I am sensitive to the pagan side, and the glorification of the demonic that our society embraces (wow, that sounds dramatic), so I try to keep my own celebrations down to the minimalist variety. I like to decorate, but more along the lines of a harvest celebration than that of the gore and guts, ghouls and witches that seems to have enraptured young and old alike.
This year is the first that my wife and I are actually celebrating holidays at our own place. Last year we lived in an apartment on the 24th story, so decorating was mostly pointless. But this year we are living much closer to the ground, and in a neighborhood with quite a few kids, so we had an opportunity to dress up our place a bit, looking forward to the kids coming out in their costumes. So to get things started, we put up a harvest wreath on the door, and got some autumn leaves to decorate the railings, and we wanted to do something that neither of us had done in ages. We wanted to carve pumpkins.
I remember when we used to do it as kids, making a face that was funny or scary and trying hard to make our vision come to life on the pumpkins. But now, there are intricate patterns that take a steady hand and good eye to transfer onto your pumpkin. Part of me thinks that this is a kind of sellout, as if somehow the art of pumpkin carving, if ever there was such a thing, has now been taken over like so many other pure things from my childhood. On the other hand, these patterns they sell are not exactly for kids, as I don't know many who could actually follow them with much success. This is a way for us older kids to stay in the game, which is exactly what my wife and I did.
Here I am with one of the patterns I described, not the most difficult in the package, but nonetheless a challenge for my less than delicate fingers. You can see the progress I am making on the wolf's face.
Here is my wife's finished product before the lights go out. Her design was much more difficult than mine, and she did a great job on her haunted house.
Oooh, Ahhh, the lights go out and the candles are lit and the pumpkins come to life.
Unfortunately the fun lasts only a few nights. Before Halloween even came a squirrel had eaten one of the wolf's eyes, and eaten chunks of the haunted house, not to mention the ant infestation. But Halloween came and went, and fun was had by all. I was happy to see the little super heroes in my neighborhood far outnumbering the ghosts and ghouls. In fact, if memory serves, we had one kid who was the masked monster from the movie "Scream", and one little boy dressed as Satan himself, complete with pointed tail and pitchfork. Other than those two, it was mostly princesses, Batman, Superman and Spiderman. The older kids surprised me with their lack of enthusiasm, or lack of ingenuity... whichever the case may be. But most of them only donned black hooded cloaks with very little else to their costumes. Holidays like this must be a tough sell for teenagers - I suppose it was for me too.
Anyway, now that Halloween is over, our country can go full steam, right over thanksgiving, and begin the madness of the Christmas season. It's already happened in most department stores, even though it's still 65 degrees outside.