Pumpkins: you can’t eat ‘em, you can’t transmutate them into gold. Well, maybe I’m being too rash. I’ve never actually tried to turn a pumpkin into gold. Anyway, everyone knows you can’t teach a pumpkin new tricks — mainly because they have no body, or mind, or the capacity to learn. Also, their memories are terrible. However, they are pretty good listeners.
It’s that special spooky time of year. Halloween has reared its ugly, decapitated, horse-riding head again. That means it’s time for pumpkin carving! It’s the world’s most beloved Halloween-based activity, not counting making hilarious original jokes about “sexy” costumes. So listen up to these pumpkin-carving tips because it’s critical that you get this right. Jack-O’-Lantern eyeholes are actually the third most important thing that Americans carve out each year, after Turkey legs and time for themselves.
Invented by brothers, Raymond and George Washington Carver, in 1901, the tradition of making an orange vegetable resemble a face is a sacred one. The best way to carve a pumpkin is to first, find an incredibly sharp knife and then use that knife to threaten the dean of admissions at your local medical school. Once you are enrolled, make sure to study hard during your preclinical classes, work like a dog during your hospital rotations, but also try take a break and just veg out every once in a while! After you successfully pass the USMLE exams, enjoy a 5-7 year residency, and pass a licensing exam, you will be a surgeon. Next, pick out your pumpkin.
Your pumpkin should be medium-sized and, in America, that means anything from 32 ounces to Patricia Arquette. When in doubt, err on the smaller side. Keep it light. Remember, most of these things are going to be hurled through the air by teenagers whose bodies are still developing.
Make sure it’s orange. Those tiny white pumpkins and twisty green gourds are fine — if you’re a production designer for The Food Network who’s looking for something to replace the glass bowl of Granny Smith apples that is undoubtedly on the counter in your set kitchen. Go ahead: fill a wicker basket with Baby Boos and call it a day. Ina Garten will lose her shit over it. However, if you’re carving pumpkins for All Hallows’ Eve, there is no substitute for orange.
Just think of the poor disappointed Princeton students. First, they have to get an Ivy League education at a school whose colors don’t go with anything, and now they have to deal with your blue pumpkin. It looks like a Na’vi cast a spell on it. Don’t ruin pumpkins the way M&Ms ruined M&Ms.
So far the rules have been rigid. Now, that you’re finally carving the pumpkin there is some flexibility. Get creative with it. Take a walk on the wild side and make the stem a nose. Engrave an overused quotation from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Scratch a tribal tattoo on the pumpkin’s bicep. Distress it. Bedazzle the pumpkin. Stab it. Stab it, lightly. Cut the pumpkin a little and remove a tiny pumpkin seed, then put it on a microscope slide and hide it in your air conditioner.
Crimp it. Make a collage on one side that represents life. Give it highlights (nothing too brassy). Get a second pumpkin, harvest its skin and cover the first pumpkin. Brand it with a fraternity symbol (unless it’s a pussy). Draw a picture of the pumpkin, carve that, and then stick it to the pumpkin with a safety pin. There are a million ideas; these are just the most popular ones.
Follow this guide or throw it out, like a pumpkin on November 1st. Whatever you do during your carving session, remember to have fun and take several hundred pictures of yourself looking like a mad scientist. Then upload them to Instagram. I’m gonna want to see those.