Sunday, October 27, 2013

Not Your Granny's Jack O Lantern

When I was little, my brother and I picked our pumpkins at a school fair. We would use markers to decorate them at home. There was no such thing as pumpkin carving. Since I met Eddie, there has been pumpkin carving, and even some seed baking. We took it a step too far with the baking; that shit came out nasty. Otherwise, our pumpkin skills have been honed to perfection, or so I thought until we went to RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns in Westbury Gardens.

You know when you're watching a horror movie and yelling at the screen, Don't go down that road!, and the idiot goes down that road and gets dead? Yeah, well, that's the same kind of feeling we had while driving to Westbury Gardens at night. It's in a spooky part of the middle of nowhere. Sure, during the day, it's not in the middle of nowhere, but at night, there are no lights. Since it's a garden, there are also no lights once you go through the gates. There are less lights. There are giant looming trees instead. We were sure we were going to get murdered when all we wanted to do was see some carved pumpkins.

We did not get murdered. Instead, we saw some pumpkins. Before the pumpkins, we parked on the grass (free parking! free is for me!), walked through the tent in which vendors sold fall-related treats like cider and light up swords and a carver was showing off her skills, carving a witch onto a pumpkin. It's not the kind of carving you do at home by stabbing a gigantic knife into a pumpkin and hoping for the best. This kind of carving involves layers and different kinds of tools. It also involves talent.

After the tent, we waited on a line. There were children running around, fighting with the swords. One was a very small boy whose father chased him over and under the ropes that were set up to keep the lines in order. He continuously recorded his son's every move, including the move in which he ran by and almost clocked Eddie with his stupid light up sword. I asked Eddie, who's going to watch this video when they get home? Eddie did not have an answer. The other kid's parents I guess love him less because they were not recording his every move even though he, too, was swinging his sword around. Actually, come to think of it, he might have been a bit too old for a light up sword, so maybe they were embarrassed. In which case, they should not have bought him the sword. Once inside, we scurried away from these particular children.

The trail is dark, of course. The pumpkins shine bright. Lots of pumpkins. Too many to count. Everyone was taking pictures, and some hadn't figured out that you can't take a picture of a jack o'lantern with the flash on if you want to see its full effect. Most people bunched up on the left side of the trail where most of the pumpkins were. I, of course, dallied on the right side where the famous paintings had been carved. Eddie, the tall one, got lots of the pictures on the crowded side while I took over on the right. Several times, I lost him in the dark and just stood there until he found me and laughed.

The themes ranged from scary movie to baseball to New York New York to tv shows we don't watch to gardens to outer space to homage to dead celebrities. Really, we were in awe.

And then came the part I did not ask for. There were creepy woods and creepy music and a sign that said Ghost Walk -- No Photos. So I took a video and prayed that nothing would jump out at me. I mean, who sets up a spooky ghost walk thingie in the middle of a Halloween event? Jeez.

Fortunately, we made it to the other side unscathed and found more carvings. It was much longer than I'd thought it would be, which made it even better.

Inspired, we came home and carved our own images in our own pumpkins. Okay, fine, we did not do that, but we did almost buy a carving kit at the CVS but then decided against it since we have knives that work just fine for what we have to offer.

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