Making new memories and remembering old ones while carving pumpkins on Halloween. Drifting down the road of autumnal nostalgia…
Pumpkin carving always fills me with the best nostalgic memories. Maybe the nostalgia is why I still adore Halloween. It’s a marker of the end of autumn and the end of harvest season. The leaves fall, the air starts to get crisp and you can feel winter just around the corner. Living in Hong Kong isn’t quite the same as my childhood in the Canadian countryside. The changes are more subtle, but I’m accustom to it now, as the light angles from a different direction and the breeze is cooler on my skin. As pumpkins show up at the more Westernized grocery stores it never ceases to fill me with delight.
This year, I head over to my BFF’s place for a carving session between a few friends. Nathalie had messaged me with a crazily detailed pumpkin carving image of a dog (on left, image from imgur) earlier in the morning with my reply being something along the lines of “LOL, as if!” However, by the time I’m sitting at her house with my pumpkin in front of me–ready for sacrifice–I suddenly know what it needs to become. I will rise to the challenge, even though it is going to take longer, and carve that orange squash into the likeness of Pirate the Dog. Pirate is the newest four-legged member of the family, rescued from a negligent breeder by a local organization Lifelong Animal Protection, and adopted by my friends. She is cute, cuddly, the tiniest King Charles you’ll ever meet, and she’s missing an eye from her previous abuse. I found a cute photo and got to work on my muse.
Pumpkin head and tail
Using my woodcarving tools and a lot of trial and error I spent way too long working on that thing (Occupational hazard I suppose; #artistproblems #Iknewitwasgoingtohappen). I have a friend in Canada who posts amazing pumpkins every year, I guess I was partially inspired by her as well. This is the first time I’ve ever attempted this kind of pumpkin carving style. If there are rules to this kind of style I certainly didn’t follow them I really just jumped in and did it my own way. She’s not terribly pretty by day–she’s more of a lights out nightime gal, wink, wink!–but I learned a lot by just doing it. It looked pretty when I started out but then I discovered the rind was too thick. I guess the trick is to seriously thin the walls before you start carving. I’ll use a different technique next year and hopefully it will be faster too!
Ugly in the daylight
Halloween is very similar to the Chinese Yu Lan/Hungry Ghost Festival where you take a moment to appease roaming spirits and celebrate the change of seasons (however Yu Lan falls earlier at summer/fall). It’s a nice moment, a fun holiday, and it’s especially amazing when you’re a kid dressing up and trick-or-treating. Nathalie originally hails from England, so she never used to celebrate Halloween. But now she’s been dazzled by the fun and we’ve created our own warm memories–a pumpkin carving convert!
Watch out everyone, winter is coming! Quick, let’s fly to Australia for a few months!