Cutting a pumpkin into a Jack O’Lantern is always a fun thing to do unless it isn’t. Trying to get those super cool patterns from the printed page to the pumpkin is almost impossible for those not endowed with natural carving talent. If you have grown tired of punching tiny little holes in a vain attempt to carve a pumpkin that is Dr. Jekyll on one side and Mr. Hyde on the other, then try a routine carving that substitutes boring for interesting.
Dig out the mouth, eyes and nose of your Jack O’Lantern in the way we all used to do before those patterns made us think we were all pumpkin artists. Make the eyes really large so that you can fit the eyeball into them. You can go to the Halloween store and buy some creepy eyes if you want, but a much more interesting way to give you pumpkin eyeballs is to cut out a round portion of a large onion and glue raisins or olives onto them depending on how large you want the pupils to be.
The teeth need to be creatively done ala something that isn’t normally used as teeth. Obviously, if you’re not following me, you should dispense with the cutting of teeth when you engage the carving process. Make sure the mouth is wide enough to fit the teeth of your choice. Some suggestions: candy corn, beans, Tic-Tacs or Chiclets gum. Nothing beats a pumpkin with Chiclets for teeth because A) you can enjoy the gum on the Day of the Dead and 2) you can start plucking the gum out and using it to cover for you underestimation of how much Halloween candy you would give away this year.
You know, when you think about it, isn’t it the Jekyll that sounds like it would be the name of the evil half and Hyde would be the doctor.
The ears on your homemade Jack O’Lantern can be made from just about any kind of vegetable available. Give Jack cauliflower ears and call him George Foreman. Some suggestions for the ears of your Jack O’Lantern: bell peppers, small gourds, large radishes or the ears from a Mr. Potato set. Shove a carrot into the nose hole and the pumpkin is complete.
Except that the pumpkin is not complete. You should give the pumpkin some hair or a hat. Hair for the pumpkin can be applied using everything from bean sprouts to that green grass they sell to put inside Easter baskets. A hat need not be a real hat. Cut a melon in half and scoop out the innards to create headgear that approximates a yarmulke. A larger butternut squash can be painted to look like anything from a fez to a porkpie hat. Man, do I love the porkpie hats. The cool thing about using fruits or veggies to make the hat for your pumpkin man is that you can cut a hole into the bottom of the hat and then slide it over the pumpkin’s stem. In this way, it would take team of trick-or-treaters to knock the hat off.