Everything’s Coming Up Pumpkins!

Oct 13, 2010 | 3 comments

October in Oysterville

     Our neighbor, Bradley, rolled into town last Friday with a pick-up full of pumpkins – 800 pounds worth!  The next thing we knew, this end of town had pumpkins everywhere!  Two in front of the church; several over on the schoolhouse porch; a couple in front of our house; and on and on.  They look so bright and cheerful that, even uncarved, they make me smile.
     Carving will happen, though.  Bradley is planning his Second Annual Oysterville Halloween Party and his invitation specifies that the entrance “ticket” is a carved pumpkin.
     “You don’t have to bring it with you,” he says.  “It just has to be appropriately displayed on your porch or in your yard.”
     Mentally, I am girding up my loins for the carving process.  During most Octobers of my teaching years, I provided a pumpkin for each student in my class.  The day before our Halloween festivities, each child drew a face on their pumpkin and then, in turn, came up to the ‘reading table’ to carve it under my watchful eye.  It was a huge project and the rule was, “If I see blood, your pumpkin goes in the garbage.”  In 39 years, I never saw so much as a droplet.
     Later, I got smarter about the process and invited dads to come in and help with the carving. And, by then, I was  buying just one big pumpkin for every three or four kids.  They had to decide, as a group, what kind of Jack-o-lantern they would make – funny, scary, weird, or whatever. Family dynamics being what they are, we usually had a limited number of dads or grandpas or uncles, so most times just one grown-up was in charge of the group.  And, of course, grown-up guys being what they are, my job was to remind them to let the kids do the work.  And no blood!
     It was a great activity.  Once the Jack-o-lanterns were carved, named,  and the candles  in place, we drew the drapes, turned out the lights, invited the Kindergarten class in, and sang them our scary Halloween songs.  And then our visitors sang their songs for us.  BOO!
     These days, I don’t know if Halloween activities are still allowed at our schools.  In some places it is no longer ‘politically correct’ to celebrate Halloween.  What a shame!  I sure am glad we’re still retro (or, actually vintage) enough for pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns in Oysterville!


  1. Brigid

    lol to Jim’s idea. What a guy that Bradley.

  2. Stephanie Frieze

    Our family loves Halloween, Halloween decorations, and I personally love pumpkins. Over the years from thrift stores and even the Ilwaco Pharmacy I’ve perchased candles, wooden, ceramic and paper pumpkins that are now arrayed on my breakfront in the kitchen and cheer me up considerably. We usually have a pumpkin carving party with the grandchildren which they enjoy greatly. The whole religious right ban on Halloween–which by the way historically had had nothing to do with Satan–like so much of their philosophy seems designed to take the fun out of life. I’m glad that Halloween fun is alive and well in Oysterville. One more reason that I wish we lived there!


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