The Norman Transcript

October 30, 2012

What to say when pumpkin is ruined

By Shirley Ramsey
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Carving a perfect jack o’ lantern remains a mystery.

“What I need is a new design,” Marci tells the pumpkin seller. “Don’t you sell designs for your pumpkins?”

“I’m sorry,” the clerk says. “But carving a pumpkin’s easy as eating pumpkin pie.”

“Nevermind then,” Marci says, embarrassed. After giving it some thought, she uses magic markers to decorate Jack as a clown.

“Beautiful job,” the neighbor families praise. Marci wins a prize for her design.

“Go figure,” her husband comments. “I’m supposed to be the artist in this family.”

In another home, the husband always carves the jack o’ lantern. This year, his wife chooses to do it.

“But all the kids like mine,” Allen objects.

“They’ll like mine, too,” Donna claims.

Allen observes as Donna digs out the pumpkin seeds and pulp.

“I never take that long,” he comments.

“Don’t watch me!” Donna blurts. “See what you made me do? Go to the store for another pumpkin. I just put this one in the ER.”

New mother Sandra wants her toddler to see the little neighbor spooks dressed up for Halloween. The doorbell rings. Sandra opens the door for the first ghosts and they scream, “Trick-or-treat!” They’re dressed like witches, a devil with a forked tongue, fierce animals and one princess.

While carrying her little daughter on one arm, Sandra manages to hold out a bowl of candy in the other. She speaks excitedly to her toddler: “Just look at the princess and the tiger! I can’t wait until you dress up like a princess.”

Without warning the toddler starts crying hysterically. She lets out the loudest howl any of them ever heard. Scared, the kids turn and run.

One yells back: “She don’t need to dress up. She’s scary enough already!”

One father begins with a great idea for his pumpkin. He draws the perfect spider on the side then he carves a spider body. The knife slips and the spider legs became detached. He changes to a toothless Jack.

His kids rush in to check his progress.

“That’s nice,” his son comments. “But what is it?”

“It’s a jack o’ lantern. Can’t you tell?” the daughter says. “He just forgot his teeth like Grandmother does sometimes.”

One of their neighbors makes the perfect jack o’ lantern — three weeks early. “Jack” starts to fade two days before the main event. Mom “doctors” the poor thing with primer from their last paint job. Mercifully, Jack hangs around until Halloween.

A neighbor “trick or treating” with her children comments: “I like that scent. What are you using in your pumpkin? Is it potpourri? Pumpkin spice?”

“Oh, that’s a brand new scent,” the woman says. “It’s a mixture of pumpkin and prime. You can’t find it just anywhere.”

Create a little magic. Halloween isn’t just the favorite holiday for many parents and children. It’s also the favorite time of year for ghouls, zombies, ghosts from all generations and wannabe werewolves.

Retired journalism professor Shirley Ramsey lives in Norman.

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