[By Tina Koyama in Seattle] When I was a kid, our Halloween tradition was to get a pumpkin from the grocery store. (Back then, the only choice was the ordinary orange kind – not the 76 varieties of stripes, spots, multi colors and gross warts that you can get now.) I would use a marker to draw the face. I hated the mess of cleaning out the guts, so my mom got stuck with that task. Finally my dad would use his pocket knife to carve my design. A candle would go inside, and our Jack-o-lantern would greet trick-or-treaters on the porch on Halloween night.
|Preparing her pumpkin for carving.|
Friday afternoon brought back those fun memories for me at Seattle's Northgate Community Center, which sponsored a free pumpkin carving contest. I get enough of cleaning out squash guts whenever we have them for dinner, so I declined on the free pumpkin. Instead, I brought my sketchbook.
Wherever I looked, families were hard at work. I was impressed by all the kids who took their task very seriously. Wincing a bit, I watched a young girl wielding a grown-up knife to carve her pumpkin with much care and determination. Another young girl held a paint brush in each hand to decorate hers. Some kids simply enjoyed scooping out pumpkin innards with their bare hands.
Children weren’t the only ones being creative. While dad entertained the child, a mom wearing a festive fairy tiara plopped a huge pumpkin in her lap and followed a design worked out on paper as she carved.
Since I don’t have any young kids in my life, this is the kind of community event I probably would have skipped before I became a sketcher. But with my sketchbook, I got to join the fun – without all the sticky pumpkin guts.
|Small girl wielding a knife.|