Carving out a memory—even without letting the boys near the knife

Some families roast the pumpkin seeds.

Others make pumpkin pies.

Around here, we’re just happy to get the pumpkin carved without any bloodshed.

This weekend when John picked up a knife and headed outside, two excited boys bounced out the door behind him.

They hovered, large spoons poised in their hands, as they waited for their big moment. 

Then they realized they weren’t going to be allowed anywhere near the knife. I don’t know at what age parents let their children carve the pumpkins on their own, but I suspect it’s after they move out of a booster seat.

Holidays must be full of disappointments for preschoolers.

You go to cut the Christmas tree down and you don’t get to touch the saw.

You get all excited to dye the Easter eggs and then your parents fret about you spilling the dye and cracking the eggs.

You think of the best idea for a Halloween costume—”Aquaman!”—and your mother sighs and says, “That would be a great costume, but Halloween is next week.”

Then you go to help carve the pumpkin, but no one will let you touch the knife.

So our boys wandered off to find other excitement. John sat on our front steps cutting the eyes, nose, and mouth into the pumpkin while our sons explored the rest of the yard. The highlights of this year’s pumpkin carving were pushing a toy lawnmower around, running in circles while waving a big spoon, and posing with our scarecrow.

After their father had done all the sculpting, the boys reappeared to scoop out the goop. There is something wonderfully fun—and harmless—about handling the insides of a pumpkin.

And I do think that scooping goop is more fun than wielding a knife.

When John finished the project, the boys didn’t complain that they hadn’t gotten a chance to hold the knife.

They were legitimately pleased with themselves for helping with the pumpkin.

And their smiles were wider than the jack o’ lantern’s.


Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.