Tuesday, October 31, 2006

trick or treat


It's amazing how a scent can take you right back. And not just to where you were but how you felt. Last night as I carved the top off of the first of these pumpkins I took a deep breath of childhood. One sniff of fresh, raw, pumpkin and I was back with my brothers at a kitchen table covered with newspapers. Pumpkin carvers in hand we were all set to go. (To this day I don't understand how they cut pumpkin but not skin.)

There were years when we had a pumpkin each and years when we had one huge pumpkin between us. Either way what I remember along with that scent of pumpkin was the anticipation. Something wonderful was about to happen. It happened about the same way every year. I loved the feel of "pumpkin guts", Dave didn't like it as much. Mark tried to smear it in my face. I squealed. Our designs stayed on a theme. We were mostly a traditional "faces" bunch. This was long before we'd learned the finer points of pumpkin carving, the importance of carving the tiniest details first and largest details last. But it was something we did together. And it was wonderful.

Tonight as I've been on the other side of the trick-or-treat door I was thinking about the costumes I can still remember. I was a clown several times, an Indian squaw (complete with brown woolen braids). There was the year I was Wee Willy Winkle and learned why Hallowe'en costumes should have as few props as possible. One year I went as a high society lady swanning around the neighborhood in my Grandma's real fur coat. She would have had a FIT if she'd known. I remember Mark as the blue ghost from PacMan one year and a gangster another. Later on Dave would prove to be the best at costuming. He has an imagination that dreams entire worlds.

I remember the trial of eating dinner Hallowe'en night. (It took so long.) We had endless existential discussions of what constitutes "dark". "Is it dark now Mom? Can we go?" After the frenzy of the night was over my brothers and I would meet in the front room. I don't know why we always met in there, it was one of those rooms that you weren't really supposed to use. But each year we met there dumping out our bags so the yearly sort could begin. Anticipation gave way to excitement and then in the manner of children, bargaining. It seemed that we went out that night in the fullness of Fall but found winter waiting for us in the morning.

All these years later it's all still there. Just waiting in the scent of fresh pumpkin.

6 comments:

Monky said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Monky said...

Let's try this again. Too many typos the first time I left a comment on this post. Ok.

All I wanted to say was, great tribute to Homestar Runner and The Cheat! Did you use a template or carve them free-hand?

dr riptide said...

Do you remember "thrills"? Those aweful purple chiclettes that came in a yellow box and tasted like soap? Who buys those things for kids anyway?
Thanks for the trip down memory lane, I definately remember chasing you with pumkin guts and trying to rub them in your hair or put them down the back of your shirt. What a delightful brother I was!!
We had one, that's right one, trick or treater this year. I guess that they don't let their kids wander around soliciting candy from people they don't know here. Instead you just see teenagers getting wasted in the town centre....much better.{:-0
We carved pumpkins earlier this month with other people our own age and they had never done it before!! Can you believe it?
Oh well, happy halloween and be careful not to get swallowed up in all the christmas decorations that have now infested every retail space.

westcoastloon said...

@Monky -- I used a template. I was on the homestarrunner site a few days before Hallowe'en and they had a little link to pumpkin stencils. They must have had 15 or 20 of them to choose from, all redy to print. Great fun.

@dr riptide -- I *do* remember Thrills. Last week the local radio station did a piece on worst candy ever and a whole bunch of people called in about Thrills. Every single onedescribed them as tasting like soap. Who buys this stuff indeed.

I'm pretty sure every older brother in the world who has a younger sister has tried to smear something gross on her at some point, so I guess we're jsut normal. If I ever feel I need revenge I'll just buy your kids drums and chemistry sets :)

Marco said...

Clowns are scary.

JAnie & DAve said...

Alright! I'm in the blogosphere and I can comment on your pum'ikins!

Way to go claire! They look fabulous!

I also had many fond memories while reading your blog, whiched helped to cover up the pain that once again, I did not get to carve a pumpkin for Halloween. BOO!
(and not a ghostly, halloween boo, either!)
-Dave