Seven years ago, when my son had just turned three years old, we were planning to go to a Halloween party as a family. My Halloween costumes have always been ad-hoc creations, momentary glimpses into my imagination. On the Halloween in question, I decided to go as a Punk-in. After a couple of tubes of orange and black face paint, I was transformed into something that scared my toddler son so badly, he refused to look at me or go to the party. Ever since then, my enthusiasm for Halloween costumes — and Halloween in general — hasn’t been the same.
Recently, I’ve channeled my Halloween creativity into my annual Jack-o-Lantern. I enjoy the challenge of using leftover fruits and veggies and plants from the garden in my creation. I like to design quickly, because the smell of fresh pumpkin is a bit nauseating to me. In fact, I’m not sure I’d do it at all if I had to gut the pumpkins myself. Thanks to the pumpkin-gutting generosity of my in-laws (who always visit us on Halloween), I start with a hallowed-out pumpkin and go from there.
This year, I grabbed two apples and a leftover parsnip for the eyes and nose. The root hairs on the parsnip gave it an extra something, I think. A quick rectangular cut for the mouth, interrupted by baby carrot teeth completed the face. I used dwarf papyrus inserted through small holes in the top of the pumpkin for hair, and a couple of cabbage leaves for ears. From certain angles, my Jack looked like Mickey Mouse’s creepy cousin.
My son, scared witless by my previous Halloween creation, even added a few embellishments from the refrigerator and garden to his Jack-o-Lantern this year, too. As you can see in the photo below, he wasn’t permanently turned off by Halloween costumes. Sporting a custom made shield and sword (courtesy of his grandfather’s help) and mom-sewn cap and tunic, he trick-or-treated as Link from the Legend of Zelda video game.
It’s pretty safe to say that I didn’t scare Halloween completely out of our house seven years ago.