November 3, 2004

The Rant: Pumpkin Blues

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On Thursday night, my friends and I decided to bring in Halloween with some good old pumpkin-carving. We bought some especially large and voluptuous pumpkins and some carving kits and began our masterpieces. We all had our different styles. One pumpkin was carved with impressive precision, revealing a small but intimidating pirate skeleton. Another was started with the stencil upside down accidentally, and evolved into a grimacing jack-o-lantern with an impressive tuft of hair. The Swedish chef from the Muppets also made an appearance, even if it took a little explaining to get it. My pumpkin was free handed, and ended up with an endearing sneer and some big bushy eyebrows. We worked hard, and with great pride we put our pumpkins out in the hall so everyone could enjoy our work. It would have been better had we been allowed to burn candles in the dorm, but that’s a whole other story.

The pumpkins made it through Friday night, sneering and grimacing their way to Halloween. Our hall pod had a welcoming and cheerful holiday spirit to it, despite the subtle smell of rotting pumpkin in the hall. That is, until Saturday night. That’s when the trouble started. I got back late on Saturday to find our pumpkins smiling and intact. Going to sleep, I would never have suspected that our pumpkins would not make it through the night. When I woke up and walked out of my dorm on Sunday morning, I was met with a horrifying view. Two of the pumpkins, mine and the Swedish chef, had been brutally bashed to pieces. Shocked and awed, I stood stunned for a minute before screaming out in panic. Once I came to my senses, the junior detective in me took over. I followed tracks of pumpkin down the hallway until they stopped in the next hall pod over. Angrily, I scrawled accusatory messages on my neighbors’ white boards and continued my search for clues. Further down the hall I discovered the top of the third pumpkin, carelessly strewn on the floor. Fuming, I went back to my room mourning the loss of our friends.

Why, I ask, would anyone so heartlessly destroy the spirit of Halloween? I have my suspicions that whoever did this may not quite have been themselves that night, but I do not take that as an excuse for bashing in the faces of two innocent jack-o-lanterns. What did they ever do to you? Even worse, I was no longer able to enter my pumpkin into the pumpkin-carving contest at Appel. Instead, some pumpkin with a drawn-on permanent marker face won whatever spooky Halloween prize Appel was offering. It wasn’t even carved! Where was the commitment? The blood, sweat and tears? Destroyed on the floor of my hallway. That’s where.

I think this occurrence shows a fundamental problem with Halloween in college. It’s all about the skimpy costumes and sexual innuendoes, and it overlooks the candy corn and pumpkin seeds. I have no problem with the costumes and parties, as long as the other part of Halloween isn’t overlooked, or actively destroyed by some belligerent drunk. I’m not saying I’ve never had a night when I come home out of control and ready to play hall sports, but I could never find it in my heart to destroy such harmless creations. Even if the basher had no recollection of having committed this heinous crime, wouldn’t they be ashamed to wake up and find their hands covered in pumpkin remains? Everyone should be able to appreciate a large, orange, smiling face when they come home trashed on Halloween night. No need to ruin the fun. As for you pumpkin-bashers: Beware. I know you’re out there.

Archived article by Becky Wolozin
Sun Contributor