New York State is colorful in her fall attire and the kids are counting down to Halloween 2018. I unfortunately have to work from 8am-8pm on the unofficial holiday, so I am trying to be mindful to all the preparations as my memory builders for the year.
Today we went pumpkin picking. The awesome thing about living in the north east is the changing seasons. Many people might argue with me about that when winter comes, but I personally love it! Autumn is spectacular here in upstate New York and I love our harvest season. If you’ve never been to a legitimate pumpkin patch with pumpkins still growing on vines and an occasional corn stalking growing here and there because this is the field’s year off of growing corn, then you are definitely missing out on something!
The pumpkins are generally cheaper as no one had to be paid to pick them and kids love running through the fields choosing their perfect pumpkin. My kids always end up with well over a dozen they have rolled to the car and have to scale it down to fit into the trunk. Sometimes we explore mushy pumpkins to check out who is living inside them. Last year, there were tons of slugs everywhere that the kids found intriguing. It was also warm enough to wear short sleeves, this year it was so cold and windy the kids wore snow pants! I think we may have gone a week or two earlier last year because, come to think of it, last weekend the kids had a dirt bike ride and I was hanging out watching in a t-shirt. Needless to say, we didn’t examine too many mushy pumpkins today, but grabbed what we wanted and headed out. We did snap some photos before we left though as they have a number of photo op cut-outs.
And a personal favorite of mine (check out the sky!!!):
Of course, it is getting near to Halloween, so we went ahead and carved the pumpkins tonight. It has been nice cool weather and forceasted to remain that way, so they will probably last until Halloween. I admit that while I like doing many things the traditional way, I am very satisfied with new technology in pumpkin carving kits, as well as battery-powered tea light candles that flicker like real candles and never need to have me remember to go outside and blow them out. As far as the kits go, I love ours. Just now I spent a few minutes searching the internet and actually couldn’t find anything that resembles it. It was a really cheap set, but the “knives” are double-edged and are not sharp whatsoever (sometimes I’m not totally sure how they cut at all…). Little fingers are able to manipulate with them and not get hurt yet also make precision cuts that the good old steak knives never could have back in the day. I’d say that kit, probably purchased at Dollar General, is one of the best uses of my money since having kids. It’s going on 3 years strong now too, so it has served us well.
Rene “free cut” his pumpkin this year, meaning he went at it with out a pre-drawn design. This is the first time he’s ever carved his pumpkin before. Well, before sister butted in and did most of it for him. When she couldn’t get the mouth quite as he wanted it, he finished it off himself. I have been quite impressed with his artistic vision lately and am doubly surprised that he could keep his mind clear enough to remember to make the parts of a face at the same time he was carving. (Maybe that is because she did most of it.)
As we carved, we listened to some “scary” music on YouTube by Derek and Brandon Fietcher, composers of fantasy and world music. Today they published ‘The Gravekeeper‘ in their Halloween Music album. I absolutely love their Fairy Music for background music when writing.
As we carved and listened to Halloween music, we discussed the origins of Halloween, trick-or-treating, and jack-o-lanterns. It’s my goal to raise inclusive kids who are aware of different religions and cultures, so Halloween is a prime time to discuss paganism, witch craft, and earth-centered religions. It’s also my attempt to make holiday’s less materialistic and more so about the experience of connecting to something greater than ourselves.
Now, the pumpkins are flickering outside the kids’ bedroom window in the grass without fear of burning the house down. I have sorted the seeds from the pumpkin goo and am headed to the kitchen to cook them. They are a staple ingredient for my main course at Thanksgiving as I boycott turkey, but that’s a story for another time.
Happy Halloween my friends! Share your thoughts and describe some of your family’s Halloween traditions.
*This post was originally published on a sister site on October 21, 2018. I am in the process of transferring posts made on the sister site to this one so I can delete that site (it’s cheaper over here!).