Thursday, November 1, 2012

Punkin Pandemonium

Well, Halloween is over. We made it through, and started a new tradition.

I decided at the last minute to throw a Punkin Pandemonium party for my little ones. We haven’t taken on pumpkin carving since the oldest was about two. I know…shameful. Please hold for redemption.

"Let the insanity begin!"

While embarking on this wackiness, there were eight loads of laundry in various stages of unclean scattered around the upstairs, a cluttered kitchen and a garage that could have been on Hoarders. I just figured, Halloween comes once a year and the laundry would be there tomorrow! I guess you can have a spotless house and no fun or lots of fun and a mess… or at least that’s how it goes around here.

As I write this, we are watching Punkin Chunkin. Awesome!!!!

Now, on to the fun and mess. At about 2:00 p.m. on Halloween, I decided to appease the kids and acquiesce to the carving of the gourds. But then, probably because it was only two hours until they were all home, and adrenaline was flowing, I decided to kick it up to an eleven.

I downloaded spooky music and made a playlist of fun Halloween tunes. I ran to the store for orangey treats and tossed kettle corn and Cheese-Its in a huge bowl. I bought some orange soda (sugar-free!) and hustled back home.  

On a time-crunch (I really felt like it was a Food Network show called Halloween-Kids-Pumpkin-Carving-Party-Wars) I enlisted the hubby to help put out a table on the driveway, and haul out the pumpkins.

I used a cardboard box scrap and slopped paint on the front for a fun sign. I pulled out some jelly jars and the cuuuuut-est lids that turn them into pretty pseudo-sippy cups for bigger kids. These lids are from ShopSweet Lulu online and are adorable. Also from that site and awesomely vintage are the striped paper straws I used in orange, yellow and white.

With the addition of the smartphone speaker (yep, that’s right, fruity phone maker, no free advertising for you) we had the makings of a surprise carving extravaganza.

And then came the kids.

“Ahhhhhh!!!!! We’re carving them today!” the youngest child squealed!

“What is Punkin Pandemonium?” she asked. “Why not Pumpkin?”

“Because PUN-kin is cuter,” said the middle child.

“It is a good thing we are doing this today and not two weeks ago,” the youngest child said. “Then they would be rotten!”

I gave them each a glass jar filled with orange soda and had them pick out a pumpkin. They had a little orange-and-white snack mix and then they were ready to go.

“Let’s blast the music and get…this…party…staaaar-ted!” The youngest child did a little jig as she said it.

I queued up the playlist and the rockin’ tones of Purple People Eater filled the driveway.  I actually saw the oldest child smirk when the music came on. Now it wasn’t a full-blown grin, I’ll grant you, but it was there.

We planted the three chosen pumpkins on the carving table and I had the kids stand back so I could cut out the tops. I started with a knife that looked like it belonged in The Jungle instead of our kitchen. A bit scared, I asked the hubby to take the knife inside and I switched to a serrated tool from the carving set I bought in a post-Halloween sale a few years ago.

Once I cut the tops, the girls got to pull them off. As they lifted up and the viscous, slimey innards stretched from pumpkin to lid, they let out a collective “eeeeewwwwwwww!!!!!”

Before she started cleaning out her pumpkin, the youngest was gung-ho:

“Time to get our hands dirty! Can I just go in?”


“This is going to be awesome,” she said.


She stuck her hands in the pumpkin and immediately her face looked like someone opened some Rochefort (isn’t that a smelly kind of cheese?) and she was not pleased.

“Ewww, this is nasty!”

I guess she got over it soon, because she started separating seeds from pulp pretty fast.

The middle kid stuck her hands in her gourd and went crazy.

“Time to pick out the brains,” she said, with a sort-of creepy cackle. I ignored it because it was Halloween after all.

The eldest opened her pumpkin and held the lid up by her face.

“This is like that thingy at the back of your throat,” she said. Ick.

 They all started cleaning out their pumpkins with both hands, turning orange up to their elbows.

“How about a hug, Mommy?” said the youngest as she tried to grab me.

The middle child said sagely, “Like Miss Frizzle always says, ‘take chances, make mistakes, get messy!’”


Pretty soon, there was a quiet rhythm going. The hubby and I each picked a pumpkin and started cleaning them out.

We had one epic-fail when we cut open a veeeery mold-filled pumpkin and had to toss it in the compost pile.

Once they were all cleaned out, and we had a huge pile of seeds for roasting, everyone started sketching their designs on their pumpkins with a black crayon. Then we each took a little cutter and started working. Even the youngest did her own.

"Ready to Roast"
Some of our friends walked over and got into the fun. They offered suggestions and decided to come over next year for Punkin Pandemonium 2013 because we will do it again.

 When That Old Black Magic came on, they took a break for a little creative ballroom dancing, and The Monster Mash had them Franken-walking around like crazy.

 We lined the pumpkins up when we finished, and lit them to guard the house while we went out for candy-gluttony. As we went inside to wash up, the middle child asked me, “Did you know that vampires hate pumpkins more than garlic?”

I did not.

But I do now.

"Mischief Managed"

Guardian Dog



Lauren said...

I love it! We carved pumpkins as well but Griff is too little to really do much besides tell me where the eyes, mouth and nose should go. So festive!! I was dying to see what insane creative craftiness happened for the girls' costumes... Any pics??

Emily said...

Check out the new post-put up costume pics from all the years past-plus this year's pic! The craftiness was when the youngest child dressed in three different costumes over the course of three different events in one weekend and I never did a single thing for any of them. Didn't buy or make a thing. She was a ballerina, an American Girl Doll and a Cowgirl. :)

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