Smashing Pumpkins

Seems these days Halloween has become an event geared more for us adults rather than the kiddies. But in the Nagasawa household, we still celebrate it for the kids, namely the neighborhood trick-or-treaters. We get a huge kick out of seeing the young ones all dressed up. Parents have come up with some really elaborate costumes. I remember when my wife would literally sew our children’s costumes. You’d think she was competing for Project Runway.

Our 15-year-old daughter still loves the Halloween festivities. It’s a little different now, as she will do the haunted house circuit with her friends. But she still dresses up for Oct. 31. The scary thing for me is she also dresses up our dog, Buddy. You know how I feel about that, but it’s become a tradition for my wife and daughter.

The other tradition that hasn’t gone away is pumpkin carving. It is my job every year to seek out and purchase the perfect pumpkin. It’s not as bad as finding my wife’s perfect Christmas tree, but it comes pretty close. I went to the grocery store the other night bent on finding my pumpkin. Since I carve it, I’m really particular about the shape.

At the store, the pumpkins are displayed in giant cardboard bins. This forces you to accept the sub-standard-shaped pumpkins on the top or endure the intense labor of digging until you get to the bottom, where it is likely all the good ones are.

I had removed all the pumpkins from the top layers, lining them up on the floor with every intent of putting them back as soon as I found my pumpkin. Sure enough, at the very bottom, I found a perfectly round pumpkin. I placed it on the floor and started to put all the other pumpkins back in the bin. Just then a little boy ran up, and claimed my precious pumpkin.

He proudly embraced it, showing his parents and said, “Here’s a good one, Mommy!” His parents knew that I had just labored intensely for that pumpkin and said, “I think that one belongs to Uncle,” “Uncle” being me, of course. I just smiled and said, “No, Uncle got that one out for you!” I figured there are other pumpkins and besides, what’s Halloween without a bit of a trick?