The Fun Gene

Halloween is just around the corner, and my children are on an anticipatory sugar high just thinking about it. What’s not to love?  An endless pile of sugary snacks that will last well beyond the next candy inspired holiday, individualized costumes resulting from months of planning and preparation, and the ever enjoyable process of carving pumpkins.

I get it. It’s fun for the kids.  I have very fond memories of myself as a child participating in such festivities, which is why I would never intentionally let on to my children that I have had a small change of heart when it comes to the annual revival of the jack-o-lantern.

I can’t help but wonder, “Am I the only one? More importantly, am I missing a fun gene?”

We carved pumpkins last night. This is literally the most fun my kids have on a yearly basis not actually doing anything.  Aside from picking their own ridiculously complicated design, pulling out three handfuls of glop and then tracking it all over the house, they do nothing.  Unless you count checking in every ten minutes to make sure “they” are doing an acceptable job and then take credit for the end result something.

“My pumpkin is the best one of all! Right Mommy?”

“It’s very nice, but technically it’s not really your pumpkin, given the fact that I have been sitting here for the past 45 minutes carving lips on your ridiculously tiny fairy’s face.”

Regardless, everyone in the family gets a pumpkin (including our stuffed family dog), whether they want one or not (i.e. me). Aside from being well represented in everyone else’s pumpkin, by the time I get to my own, the novelty and excitement has just simply worn off.  I don’t want to do one.  Not even a little bit.

Gone are the days when pumpkins were carved in the way pumpkins were meant to be carved, using a combination of three simple geometric shapes to create the resemblance of a nonsymmetrical face. Triangles for eyes, a square for a nose, a rectangle for a mouth, and Voila, a beautiful masterpiece in fifteen minutes or less with a refresher course in shape recognition to boot.  Want to branch out and switch up the order of shapes used for any or all of the above mentioned facial features, way to go overachiever!  You get bonus points for creativity.

Fast forward to present day and pumpkin carving has evolved into a competitive art form where the appreciation of the simple geometric shape has sadly taken a back seat to complicated patterns and sophisticated designs only a brain surgeon’s fine motor skills could successfully pull off without a hitch.

Google “pumpkin templates” and be prepared to slip into a coma from the shock alone. Once a decision is finally made, you better pray that you have ink in your printer.  If you do not, you will be free-handing that SOB under the watchful eyes of the pumpkin Nazis, who accept nothing but absolute perfection of course.  There is no room for error. None.

Heavy sigh.

How could I have been so stupid? There is something seriously wrong with me.  Who cuts the circle out in its entirety with the fairy still in it?  Not only am I an idiot, but I am an idiot holding a very somber fairy (with freakishly defined lips) in my own bare hands as I stare in absolute disbelief and horror at the pumpkin before me that now resembles nothing more than a pumpkin with a very large hole in it.  I can’t make that hole into anything else!  And what the hell am I suppose to do with this fairy?

Maybe she won’t notice?

“OMG Mommy!!! You ruined my pumpkin!  Fix it!  Can you fix it?  You can fix it Mommy, right?!  Where’s my fairy?!”

“Ummmm, she’s right here honey. Would you like to hold her?  I think she would like that.”


Mister “I Can Fix Anything” reluctantly takes a break from carving his own beardless garden gnome (he had his own set of problems), quickly disappears from the room, only to reappear with an arrogant swagger, a couple of toothpicks, and his godforsaken patience.  In 8 seconds or less, the lifeless fairy has not only been miraculously resurrected, but now sits atop her illuminated throne in all of her glory on our front step for all to worship and adore.

Perfect.  Daddy’s a hero and Mommy’s a fairy killer.

I wonder if there’s a costume out there for that?

Happy Halloween.


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