Whether it is due to some ancient Celtic call to observe Samhain or simply an opportunity to put on a costume and eat molasses taffy, I love Hallowe'en. This year has been just a bit busy to prepare for it as fully as I would have liked, so once again I find myself cobbling together a costume together out of odds and sods around the house on Devil's Night.
On the plus side, I have outsourced the carving of the Jack O'Lantern to a contractor, which gave me a little bit of latitude this evening to sort out costume bits and other necessities. I had to source my own pumpkin, but managed to obtain one of a decent size and a bit of character.
I'm sure it's possible to get adequate results by freehanding the design onto the pumpkin with a knife, and I know you can achieve great effects by using a stencil, but somewhere between lies the sweet spot for our household: a sketch on a piece of paper, then drawn on the pumpkin with a marker.
In the interests of workplace safety and domestic tranquility, I agreed to treapanate Jack, and provide egress into his gooey interior by means of a large serrated knife.
Like most professionals, my carver makes good use of the specialized tools available for the task, starting with the scooper. No more bent spoons for this guy, and the wide mouth and sharp teeth make gutting the gourd quite a bit easier, though no neater.
Once sufficiently hollowed out and a smooth place created for the light source, it is time to begin carving in earnest. This dandy item has large and small tooth serrations, making it easy to move from long straight cuts to curves and finesse work.
It doesn't take too long to get the mouth sorted out, but I complain that it doesn't look very scary.
The contractor sighs, and produces a box of toothpicks. "That's because he hasn't got any teeth yet."
The snaggletoothed grin of needle-like dentition adds a demeanour of demented, malicious glee that had been notably missing, and with lights off, the effect is even greater.
And just like that, we are one step closer to All Hallow's Eve!