Seasonal Pumpkin Brain Surgery

Here is a Halloween post full of the philosophical musings of an aging dad. Enjoy and Happy Halloween.

Halloween? What’s that?

It’s the time when dad hollows out a pumpkin to make a lantern, and the pumpkin is always too bloody hard, and dad never has a decent knife and ends up using a selection of power tools and kitchen utensils and gets covered in fibrous orange gunge as he hacks away to dig out the inside of this most indigestible of vegetables.

I’m not a brain surgeon, but Halloween is that time of year when I come as close as I will ever get to carrying out major brain surgery.

In our house, the Halloween pumpkin was a true father/daughter moment.

When the offspring was too young to handle sharp implements, I was the magical pumpkin maker and all my creations, however bad would be welcomed with squeals of childish delight. No matter how crap the creation, we had a pumpkin. Of course, dad being dad, I would never bother to measure the area of the windowsill and I would buy the biggest pumpkin possible that was always too big and would inevitably fall off the windowsill and go crashing to a squelchy orange death in the garden below.

In later years (when the offspring could do all that creative stuff with a sharp kniffe without asking an adult), it was my daughter who made the pumpkin, and of course dad would go mad because she wasn’t making it the way dad would.

We’ve never been great pumpkin makers, all our efforts have been far too smiley to ward off evil spirits, and then, in this, my daughter’s 18th year – up pops an enthusiastic dad asking if nearly fully-fledged adult wants a pumpkin, to be greeted by a nonchalant and very non-commital « maybe. »

« Make one if it makes you happy, » says my daughter, who, despite her leck of pumpkin enthusiasm, is busy making herself a Witch costume to go Trick or Treating with friends.

I guess like all dad stuff, I have come to yet the end of another era, and now, unless I make pumpkins for myself, my next venture in seasonal brain surgery will be with my grandchildren (Yes I am sad.)

Trick or Treat

And so to the art of the Trick or Treat. Yes, this is France, where, until 20 years ago, no one had ever heard of Halloween. So, I remember back when my daughter was still a kid, I would run round the neighbours planting sweets and treats in the early afternoon, so my daughter and friends would have something to fill their baskets when they went knocking on doors.

You know, in a country where Halloween is not really a tradition, a successful Halloween takes a lot of organising; Now, though, my daughter is too old for this « kids’ stuff » and that dad/daughter rite is more or less dead and I am kind of sad, yet tomorrow night my daughter will be terrorising people for sweets – I still can’t work this out… you don’t want to make a pumpkin with dad, but you want to go Trick or Treating with your mates.

I now have a confession to make – I hate pumpkins. Over the years I have tried making soups and pies, and the humble pumpkin is just a « difficult to cook » and tasteless veg that gives you bad indigestion (but no flatulence).

And to the point of this post. What is Halloween?

A good marketing opportunity for toy retailers to glean a few extra pennies before Christmas really begins.

Being Dead – A job for life

A chance for the Dead to have a night off – because we are celebrating that porous moment where those in Purgatory come back to haunt us and we also celebrate the dead. So why shouldn’t dead people have a party and a day off? You are dead for a very long time, so a day off being dead is a very good idea. We all take a day off work from time to time, so why shouldn’t the dead get a day off work as well? Actually if being dead was a real job ???? I suppose the wages would be quite low and you certainly would not have the very complex question of retirement and pensions. Being dead is a job for life.

Time to leave you for Halloween as I go downstairs to make my own pumpkin.