I recently wrote in “A Beautiful, Bracing Chill” about how I dove into the chilly waters of Lake Erie even though I was hesitant to do so. But I didn’t want my ritual swim after a run to “become just one more thing I don’t do anymore because I’m old or lazy or too sensitive to the cold.”
Yesterday, I realized Halloween was going by the wayside as well. Every year with the kids we used to visit a farm and take hayrides and eat cider doughnuts and choose a pumpkin that we would take home and carve, scooping out the “stinky goop” and collecting the seeds to oven roast. We’d light the pumpkin and leave it out front on Halloween night to let trick-or-treaters know we were open for business.
The last couple of years I didn’t carve a pumpkin. The kids are grown, there are no more farm visits, we don’t go trick or treating. But other kids do in our neighborhood. So I went and got a pumpkin, just a little guy, and carved it up. I enjoyed doing it even though the kids weren’t by my side excitedly issuing conflicting instructions about the shape of the mouth or the size of the eyes.
I chose the face. I wanted a complex expression, neither happy nor scary, but something in between. I ended up with a face that might just be wondering what the hell is that long thing sticking up from the top of its head. Or wondering what happened to his teeth.
It’s Halloween. On Halloween I carve a pumpkin.