Master Pumpkin Carvers


….in the Cormier family

This is my husband’s 37th pumpkin that he’s carved and my son-in-law’s first. I think my husband has some serious competition.

Yesterday I luckily found this large beauty. In my neighbourhood they were almost completely sold out when I finally got around to purchasing one and they weren’t reduced in price. It weighed a ton and I was glad that I parked close by.

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This year I had the pleasure of cleaning the guts from the inside of the pumpkin.

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Now that the messy part was done, my husband could focus on the design and carving out the face of this year’s Jack O’lantern.

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Here are the two finished pumpkins, side by side. You be the judge.

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It was a perfect night for trick or treating. Both my husband and I sat outside with a glass of wine in hand as we greeted about 46 children. That may not seem like a lot of children to you but last year we only had 2. I leave you with a few more photos of Hallowe’en at the Cormier and Turner house. Enjoy!

18 thoughts on “Master Pumpkin Carvers

  1. Turnips are used here. Difficult to carve and the house smells of turnip for weeks. Halloween no longer seems so popular here. Perhaps parents worry about kids being out in the dark, perhaps many people are reluctant to open their doors after dark, or perhaps we’ve just become lazy and prefer sitting in front of TV or computer. I think both your pumpkins are great in different ways so wouldn’t dare give a preference!

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    • A colleague at work has been to Scotland on several occasions and says that some people in Scotland don’t like the North American style Hallowe’en because you have a more traditional version which some feel has been compromised. Is this true?

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      • In these days of globalisation and wall-to-wall television from America people always moan about lost culture, though I haven’t heard anything about Halloween but that has become fairly low-key here. Apologies for posting this lengthy piece from a website but it explains all, and I think the situation may be similar in Ireland.

        Celtic Origins

        “The Christian Festival on All Hallows (Saints) Day on 1 November was deliberately set to coincide with the last day of the year in the old Celtic calendar of 31 October. It was celebrated by the Druids as “Samhain” from “Sain” meaning summer and “fuin” meaning “ending” and was regarded as a “Feast of the Dead” when they would sometimes return as evil spirits. There were also ritual fires to ensure that the sun would return the following spring and there is still a lingering belief that children born on Hallowe’en have supernatural gifts.

        Hallowe’en Traditions in Scotland
        In Scotland, Hallowe’en was traditionally associated with witches and bonfires. In the last few hundred years, bonfires have ceased to be part of the celebration of Hallowe’en – they are reserved for “Guy Fawkes” night on 5 November. But other pagan rituals have been perpetuated with traditions such as “dookin’ for apples” (removing an apple floating in a basin of water without using your hands, either spearing it with a fork held in your teeth or by biting it). Of course, apples were sacred to the Druids.

        Tattie Bogles
        Then there are “tattie bogles” (potato scarecrows) or “neep lanterns” (turnip lanterns) made by scooping out a turnip and cutting through the skin to create eyes, nose and mouth. A candle was then placed inside (and turnip was on the menu for days afterwards). The pumpkin serves the same purpose in the USA and these are increasingly found in Scotland in more recent times – they are easier to scoop out! But children who have fun doing this do not realise that they were continuing a tradition of placing skulls on poles round encampments to scare away evil spirits.

        In Modern Times
        By the end of the 19th century Hallowe’en had become very much a festival for children. Dressing up and going “guising” is a tradition which has lasted to the present day. The original idea was to dress as spirits of the dead but options have widened over the years. When money was tight, dressing up in some old clothes from grandparents was all that was required. But witches (with broomsticks, cloaks and pointed black hats) have always been popular, with blackened faces harping back to the pagan days when the Druids may have smeared their faces with ash from their bonfires. Long before “trick or treat” children went round the houses and had to perform a poem or a song or tell jokes before receiving nuts, apples, sweets (candies). In recent years, concern about child safety has reduced the amount of “guising” and the children who do go out seem to think they should get something without having to do a “party piece”.

        Robert Burns
        There is a (long) poem by Robert Burns on Hallowe’en which gives a good description of the traditions which were followed in his day. And of course, the epic poem “Tam O’ Shanter” is all about “brownyis and bogillis” and the witchcraft and superstition of those times.

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      • Thanks Dorothy. No apologies necessary. I enjoyed reading about the traditions. I think my friend’s experience was with one woman’s distaste for the American version of Hallowe’en.

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  2. Great photos … and the pumpkins are so different in style, it’s not reasonable to try and compare them 🙂

    You had us beat with the trick-or-treaters. We had 10 … this was up from 7 last year. I don’t know why I always overbuy. You’d think I would have learned by now. Candy anyone?

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    • I think you’re right about the pumpkins Joanne. I like them both as well because they are so different. I bought enough candy for about 120 kids. I know that I won’t get that many so I always double up when I hand out the treats but I still end up with lots left over. My husband wanted them out of the house so I said I would take them to work but I forgot. Half of what was left over was gone when I got home from work!

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