“Trick or treat!”
We drop this year’s offering into their containers and with muffled thanks, they trek off to the next home. Behind them come more—Minions, Star Wars characters and the fairy tale crowd—drawn like moths to a flame.
At least I hope the candle in our pumpkin still burns.
People ask me why we still carve a pumpkin. My children are grown, they don’t trick or treat, and the labor of transforming the large, orange orb is no small feat.
But I have an ulterior motive.
I plan to stuff the pumpkin into jars when the day is through. Keeping the carving tradition alive saves me hours of work.
My adult children bring me the annual harvest gourd about two days before Halloween. They enjoy each other’s company, so they sit out on the patio, sharpened knives and old spoons in hand. They transform the plump round sphere into something scary with a face. When finished, they plop it on my front step, stick in a candle, and wait to light it for the children who will come.
Most of the hard work is done. No pulp to pull, seeds to scrape, or goo to clean.
The following day I slice up the remaining flesh, steam it until it is soft, and ram the wedges into jars for the canner. Forty minutes later I have homemade pumpkin ready for pies, bread, muffins or whatever. I feel like a queen and my willing laborers don’t suspect a thing.
Nor will I tell them. And neither will you.