It was Jack’s thirtieth Halloween on his own.
He longed for the days of his childhood, especially during this holiday when he remembered his father reading him The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He always visualized the Headless Horseman with a pumpkin on his shoulders.
Jack always got into the Halloween spirit, and heck, he just loved how his name was part of the word Jack-O’-lantern.
When he was a kid he made them with the help of his father but those were simple pumpkin lanterns with triangle shaped eyes, nose, and a mouth. As he got older he fancied different patterns.
Since he could almost call himself an artist with a knife, with every passing year he was more pleased with his work.
Getting ready for Halloween started a few days earlier for him with picking out the right pumpkin and setting up his work area, making sure it was peaceful so no one would bother him. After all, he wouldn’t want to cut off his fingers by accident.
Carving pumpkins is messy but making a mess was never as much fun for him as before this special holiday.
He put down layers of plastic foil to aid in the clean up after the carving was complete, which was never as easy as just gathering up the plastic and walking away.
He started cutting the lid by angling his knife 45 degrees so he could create a ledge that the lid would sit on.
Jack could almost hear his father saying “The key thing to remember is that you need to create a ledge to keep the lid from falling into the pumpkin by adding a notch to the back so you can easily line up the lid with your pumpkin.”
His father’s favorite part was gutting the pumpkin, while Jack preferred carving.
But since gutting had to be done before carving he got to it, making sure the insides of the pumpkin were thoroughly cleaned so there wasn’t any loose pulp hanging anywhere—the loose pulp would detract from his design.
There isn’t always a need to gut a pumpkin for a pumpkin sculpture. He knew some sculptors who never gut their pumpkins.
However, Jack’s personal opinion was that adding a light to the inside of a pumpkin sculpture adds a whole other effect. He created a flat surface at the bottom for the light to be placed.
He then carved out the eyes, nose, and mouth with extra care, following a creepy template he drew in preparation for tonight.
It didn’t come out exactly as he wanted, but he’d have a whole year where he could further improve on his skills.
It was much more elaborate and unusual than what he had done when he was a kid.
He took his time cleaning the insides, leaving no traces behind. His job at the coroner’s office had taught him well.
Jack made a calm phone call while he stood back and admired his work.
Now all he had to do was place his pumpkin in the window, and get rid of the body before hearing the sirens and wait.
Wait for next Halloween.