Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Ritual

Last night, I went to the grocery store to buy some things for dinner and found myself surrounded by shoppers whose carts were loaded with giant pumpkins. The pumpkins were strangely uniform in size, perhaps the size of large buckets. When Andrew came home last night, he said he exchanged some pleasantries with our downstairs neighbors, who said they’d be carving pumpkins on Halloween.

I realized I was witnessing a Sacramento ritual: on-Halloween pumpkin carving. It makes sense, as I learned the hard way. In a land without fall or cold weather, it makes no sense whatsoever to carve a pumpkin more than one or two days in advance, lest it quickly sag with mold. I remember pumpkins sitting on our porch for weeks in Pennsylvania; yet here, passers-by were probably pointing at our early-bird pumpkins in confusion and disapproval. We weren’t in Sacramento for Halloween last year—we were in Pennsylvania preparing for the wedding—but now we know.

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