Carving a winking pumpkin

Published 8:49 pm Monday, October 26, 2009

This Saturday in neighborhoods all around Suffolk, children will take to the streets in their chosen costumes and beg for candy.

Though I hate to admit it, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

No, I’m not a devil worshiper or anything like that. I just love the excuse for candy, the opportunity to dress up as something you’re not (or want to be), the abundant opportunities to scare and be scared, and just the general fall atmosphere surrounding the holiday. I also have some fond memories of Halloween from when I was growing up.

As a child, I got excited about Halloween. There’s a rumor going around that I was dressed as a pumpkin for one of my first Halloweens, although none of you can prove that without the picture. Dressed as a clown, a devil and a witch, I graced the neighborhoods of Newport News as I was growing up.

After I was done trick-or-treating in my neighborhood, my mom routinely drove me to my grandmother’s house, where she invariably had a special plate of Halloween goodies just for me. Chocolate cupcakes, cookies and other scarily delectable treats were always ready and waiting.

More favorite memories of Halloween were made in college. During my sophomore year, I got the chance to act in a haunted house, put on by the dining hall employees at Longwood University.

Decked out in a black skirt, black shirt, black heels and bloody makeup, my job was to step out of an upright, Dracula-style coffin and beckon to passersby with a black-polished finger. One girl was so terrified she refused to walk past until I retreated into the coffin. I can honestly say that’s the most fun thing I’ve ever done for money.

There was also the time I dressed as the Green Knight from “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” for extra credit in British Literature 1, but … ahem, again that’s unprovable.

However, perhaps my favorite part of Halloween is carving pumpkins. This weekend, I carved a pumpkin for the first time in six years.

I got it in my head that I would carve a pumpkin this year a few weeks ago while doing a story on pumpkin-carving for the Fun & Leisure page. So, on Saturday, I stopped by a church near my apartment and shelled out $10 for the perfect pumpkin.

On Sunday, I set to work. I sketched out a winking pumpkin with a couple of snaggle teeth, and went to town. There’s nothing like the feeling of pumpkin guts squishing between your fingers to get you in the Halloween mood.

After outlining my design with an X-Acto knife and carving it out with larger knives, I took it outside and lit it up. Not my best work ever, but I was proud of it.

Make sure to have a safe and happy Halloween, everybody!