Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

It’s Pumpkin Time!

Jill Silverberg
A long time ago, in a state not too far away, my elementary school arranged a special surprise for its fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes. It was October 2001, and to lift the spirits of the students still reeling from 9/11, the school board somehow managed to secure one pumpkin for each student (this was not a particularly large elementary school) and brought in someone to teach us how to ‘carve’ Jack O’Lanterns. Over the course of three days, each class was given an hour, a small pumpkin, and some paint while a master pumpkin carver showed everyone how to carve a spooktacular Jack O’Lantern. Pictures were taken, jokes were made, and a pumpkin contest was held to decide which student painted the best pumpkin. Although the annual Christmas Classroom Door contest was usually regarded as the best school-wide event, that year, nothing could compare to my elementary school’s pumpkin fest.

And I missed the whole thing.
Indeed, that year, my normally decent immune system betrayed me and on the day that my fifth grade class was scheduled to have their session with the pumpkin carver, I was home sick in bed. I never did get to paint a pumpkin, or even see what carving a pumpkin looks like. I never got pumpkin guts thrown at me (apparently that happened as well) or got to feel and see what the inside of a pumpkin looks like once it has been hollowed out. 
But last night, more then twelve years after missing out on what was called by my fifth grade teacher “the best wasted hour in academic history”, my inner ten-year-old was granted a second chance. A while back, two of my three other roommates mentioned that they were thinking about buying pumpkins and wanted to know if I wanted one as well. When I asked what they were going to do with them, they smiled and said “Carve them of course!” I said yes without fully realizing what that exactly would entail.
For those out there who, like me, know next to nothing about pumpkin carving, there is a process you have to follow. First, you have to clean the pumpkin, remove all and any dirt. Next, you have to remove the top of the pumpkin, but that needs to be done carefully. After all, a pumpkin would look silly if it was missing its top. Next comes the “fun” part, scooping out all the pulp and seeds as well as hollowing out the side that you will be carving. It was messy, time consuming, and 100% worth the effort. Once your pumpkin has been emptied and hollowed, you have to outline your design. This is something that should be selected in advance because as it turns out, making up a design on the fly is somewhat tricky. Once your pumpkin is marked up in pen, then the carving can finally begin! For the next hour and a half I slowly carved a face into my pumpkin, taking my time to make sure I didn’t make any costly mistakes. Though toothpicks were on hand to offer any emergency support if needed, my design was thankfully not something that I could easily mess up. 
Finally, almost three hours after we started, we placed our pumpkins out on the back porch, placed tea-lights inside and stepped back to admire our hard work. For a first timer, I was actually rather impressed that I hadn’t managed to somehow split the entire thing into two. My pumpkin actually looked respectable, especially when placed next to the other two. For those wondering, my pumpkin is the one in middle!
“So was it worth the wait?”