Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sharp Glow

Notice this trend of painted pumpkins rather than carved jack-o-lanterns? My favorite thing to do with pumpkins is eat them, but I do appreciate creative carving as well. I'm not against painting things generally, but painting on a pumpkin for Halloween is a bummer, and I've quietly disliked it as I've seen it rise in popularity. I've never said anything out loud, knowing it's a stupid thing to get hung up on, but got pushed over the edge this week when I ventured into a big box hardware store, and saw pre-painted (truly ugly) pumpkins for sale there.

Carving pumpkins has always had a tragic edge, since you know you're wasting food when you do it. But, you do salvage the seeds (yum) and removed chunks, and end up with something aesthetically pleasing to light up and share with your neighbors. Glowing jack-o-lanterns, even the scary ones, are beautiful.I've never seen an attractive painted pumpkin, and I'm pretty certain those seeds aren't being scraped out and roasted or saved for planting the next year. And I worry that this painting business has come from adults who are unwilling to help kids safely handle knives. I think kids shouldn't be protected from everything under the sun, rather, taught to understand what is dangerous and why, and how to act with sharp things, fragile things, living things, sour things. (At the market, I've seen kids drawn to our pickled veggie samples by the pinks and yellows and oranges and purples, and parents literally drag them away saying, "Ug, pickles" or "Ug, no, c'mon, c'mon, let's go get a donut." as if it would hurt a child to taste something new. On the flip side, adventuresome kids have dragged their grown-ups over and made them buy radishes or mint carrots or dill cukes or kimchi.)
Let's all take our lives in our hands this year and carve pumpkins, shall we? Let's roast and save seeds. Let's bake the pumpkin parts we remove. Let's remind our young ones and ourselves that knives are not weapons, and that there are safe and proper ways of using them.

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