The Boring Word About Jack O’ Lanterns

October 29, 1986

As Halloween approaches families are faced with making two major decisions. One is the costume to be worn this year and the second is the selection of the pumpkin to be used for the family jack o’lantern. Costumes can lead to a great deal of discussion but nothing starts a debate like the question of which pumpkin shall we take home. Selecting a pumpkin is a little like going to get the family Christmas tree. Everyone has a different concept of what is the ideal jack o’lantern.

At our house one kid likes the big fat ones with a wide grin while another prefers tall skinny ones with a quizzical look. The third goes for the scary guys with frowns. Needless to say I learned a long time ago that’s it is easier to buy three and eliminate the debate.

Round pumpkins are best for wide grins. Bumpy surfaces and odd shapes lend themselves to ghouls and witches. Some people prefer teeny, tiny pumpkins while others want the biggest one in the pumpkin patch.

The first few years when the kids were small we went all the way, digging out the centers, baking the seeds, placing a candle inside, and then fighting the bugs which were attracted to it. I finally got smart and decided a magic marker could make a pumpkin look pretty good. Paint has been known to turn out a pretty good face if you are artistic enough. But I do draw the line at buying one with the face already painted on it or Heaven Forbid! a plastic jack o’lantern with an electric light in it!

The last few years as we have entered the teenage years I’ve noticed the interest in jack o’lanterns has decreased. But our interest in pumpkins has remained fairly consistent.

Only now they want them in a pie!