Celebrating Halloween

My first pumpkin carving as an adult. I believe I could do a better job, but this is just perfect.

This year I’ve finally celebrated Halloween. I will address this right at the beginning and say that I know that this holiday is not really supported by people with whom I share my religion. I get that and I am respectful of it. However, this year, considering my father’s passing away and all the pain associated with it, I felt the need to do something hopeful and start a new tradition at the end of October..

The second part of October will always be remembered as the time when I lost my father and I intend to allow myself to feel the feels. My intention is to use the carving of pumpkins and making a great pumpkin pie as a transition from pain into acceptance.

About two days before the 31st, I told my family that we are carving a pumpkin to light a candle and enjoy the evening together. My mother immediately mentioned the intention to use the insides to bake a pumpkin pie. I agreed on the spot, giving that this year I’ve been so into seasonal dishes.

I spent those days working and writing and walking around, so I postponed the actual buying of a pumpkin to Saturday afternoon (the 31st) when the only produce left in the supermarket was definitely appropriate for baking pie instead of carving a pumpkin. It was the butternut kind. I cut its top and then its rather long neck, making sure that the cut off top would cover the top of the remaining curved part.

It was fun to use a knife and a spoon to remove the insides of the pumpkin. The knife was definitely more helpful, as it’s not an easy job to carve the thing. It might have taken me about 25 minutes, during which I talked to mom about how to best do what I do. By this I mean her telling me how to do it and me evaluating the merits of the received advice by trial and error.

We quickly decided to carve the eyes, the nose and the mouth in a rather linear manner. I proposed to carve a tooth for the mouth and she doubted I would succeed. But she got curious and was actually supported during the tooth carving part. I was as successful as one considers, taking a look at the picture.

My brother came at the end and, in his particular style, informed me that I did a weird job and my pumpkin isn’t pretty. He’s 29. And a self-proclaimed expert on evaluating cooked meals made by other people. Thus, you can only imagine I didn’t take his opinion to heart. His words, nevertheless, gave me the push to search online for ideas on how to carve the face next year; criticism is not always bad.

We then proceeded to lit a candle inside it. I’ve gotten a small purple Woodwick candle with a small purchase of books from Humanitas made earlier that day. We turned off the kitchen light and watched our pumpkin being pretty.

We decided to place it on a plate on the stove, to avoid some other tragedies. The stove faces the kitchen table. My mother stood in her chair, close to the kitchen window, while I stood on my father’s kitchen chair, between the other side of the table and the sink. We watched the pumpkin, drank some tea and had a conversation.

Talking was always the strength of my family. I guess we didn’t discussed that much about emotions and feelings and saying I love you was something we rarely did. But we could always tell the truth or speak our mind, we could always communicate and trust that we’ll be there for each other no matter what happens. We felt the love which surrounded us.

This is the story of how I started to celebrate Halloween. It’s no crazy party and no dressing up in costumes in order to ask people for chocolate, although I do not exclude these traditions from crossing my path in the future. It was an intimate celebration and a nice family activity.

I am finishing this post and go have a chat with my family. Make today count!

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