A Belated Glance At Halloween

halloween-2016-12I know this post is 4 days after the fact. So sorry for that. I rarely am able to write a post in one sitting. Photographs for a post may take plenty of sittings.  I hope late is better than never! I do so enjoy the Halloween holiday, so I am writing belatedly.  It would be tough for me to let Halloween pass, unacknowledged. To follow is the stale news of my late fall gardening life. Rob made a point of choosing 4 pumpkins for me to carve for my Halloween at home. He knows I love that fall holiday that celebrates in a lighthearted way the coming of the dark time. Halloween is a silly gateway to those serious months in which there will be no gardening. I carve pumpkins, light them up, buy treats for the kids, and turn my porch light on. Buck fixes chili. It is a party that comes to us. The pumpkins Rob chose were big. The walls were thick. The rind was tough. Really tough. It makes sense that a very large pumpkin would have thick walls and a tough rind. How else would a pumpkin emerge, grow, and stand up? Nature at work is a study in how living things work. I am still learning. Love that party. Luckily, my carving day was this past Sunday. I had a whole day to deal with thick walls and the tough rind.

halloween-2016-13I had time to think over how I would carve these pumpkins.  Cutting a lid, and scooping them out took plenty of time. I have learned from many years of exposure to Buck that any task at hand requires a sensible and thoughtful approach to the work.  Years ago, I gutted and carved my pumpkins at home in the kitchen. How exhausting it was to haul those big pumpkins up a steep flight of stairs from the basement. I never liked that part. In the back of my mind fluttering around was why would I carry a pumpkin upstairs, and carry at least a third of it back downstairs? Why, indeed. This seemed not only inefficient, but not in the spirit of good fun. Fun that is too much work is not that much fun. Emptying every pumpkin of the seeds and goo permeated every surface of our kitchen. What a mess. For the past few years, I have cleaned out and carved my pumpkins at work, on a table at a perfect height for me to work. A giant trash was strategically placed to accept, via that miracle we know as gravity, all of what it takes to make a pumpkin ready for carving.

dsc_0114My pumpkins had those same incredible stems as all of the pumpkins Rob purchased this fall for the shop. His choices inspired lots of gardeners interested in representing the fall season. I was a happy member of that group. By the afternoon on Sunday, my pumpkins were ready to carve. Did I have a plan for the carving? No. Did I draw on the pumpkins? No. I just took up my knife, and plunged in.

halloween-2016-15The carved pumpkins took up residence the morning of Halloween day in the pots out front. The candle inside was all about fire power. I lit them at 4:30 in the afternoon. I knew they would burn at least 12 hours. Rob’s Belgian made outdoor candles emit a lot of light, and easily handle a windy night. Each pumpkin was encircled with a ring of faux black hydrangea stems.  Fake flowers have their moment.

halloween-2016-16I took pictures at 5:30 pm. That heavy duty candle had already turned my carved eyebrows black. The flame is obvious. What I did not see until I looked at this picture the next day was the fall color on my Limelight hydrangeas. The fall season in the garden is indeed beautiful.

halloween-2016-17I was happy to see that my group of 4 pumpkins were representing the spirit of Halloween in my garden. By 5:15 pm I was ready for Halloween. Meaning, I was ready for company. Buck and I did get company.

halloween-2016-2Trick or treat

halloween-2016-6trick or treat

halloween-2016-9Halloween  visitor

halloween-2016-4trick or treater

halloween-2016-3this green Halloween visitor was my favorite

halloween-2016-1kids with their family

halloween-2016-8more kids with their family

halloween-2016-11dressed to the nines for Halloween

halloween-2016-5another family celebrating Halloween


Halloween 2016skull scary

img_4390three girls

img_4387horns on fire

img_4366Our house

img_4362-2lighted pumpkin after dark

img_4359pumpkin ablaze

img_4360well after dark

img_4416This Halloween visitor was a grandfather, escorting his grand kids through my neighborhood. He told me that his grand kids were afraid to stand next to him. How hilarious. The best part of Halloween? A lot of fun and mock horror celebrated by a community. Celebrating Halloween is a version of community gardening.





















  1. Diane Ciardello says

    Fabulous! you are quite the carver!! Pics of people are so much fun!

  2. The pumpkins were great!!!

  3. Cathy Peterson says

    Awesome jack-o-lanterns! I don’t think I could do that free hand. Where can one get Belgian candles? A thought for next year. Loved seeing the families having fun together.

  4. What a “treat.” Brilliant blog, fabulous pumpkins, heartwarming photos. Made my day.

  5. Michaele Anderson says

    Such a treat…adored every picture.

  6. These little trick-or-treaters are simply heart melting!

    When I was a young girl growing up (and trick-or-treating back in the 60s) in Oak Cliff, Texas, we had a house in our neighborhood, like yours, that had the coolest decorations. As kids, we believed that the best decorations likely meant the best candy treats. Back then, the best treats were homemade candied popcorn balls and candied apples. We kids dressed in our most imaginative best for that particular house.

    I can see that same enthusiasm — hopefulness — on those darling, sweet faces.

    Great post — thanks for sharing!


  7. Sheila Schultz says

    I knew I liked you, now I know why. You are a woman after my own heart. Your carving is excellent, the black flowers outstanding, and the party coming to your door shows your welcoming spirit. Love it all.

  8. Absolutely Wonderful! Words, Pumpkins, Pictures, Beautiful Attitude… Wonderful All! Hardly Stale!!

  9. debra phillips says

    loved your carving deborah and those stems!!!

    i am in a rural area, no kids, yours were great fun

  10. ‘Fun that is too much work is not fun.’

    Ha! Reminded me of my German gardener grandmother…her favorite thing to say
    ‘There will be dirt when I’m dead’

    She was a terrible housekeeper, but a ton of fun.

  11. Your pumpkins are the best looking pumpkins I have ever seen! The faces, candle light and expressions are outstanding. No wonder you got lots, and lots of terrific costumed kids. I am sure everyone knew you were ready for Halloween. Outstanding decor. I had no idea how thick the large pumpkins could be. Carving all these very large pumpkins seems somewhat like a construction project. Fantastic.

  12. Great pictures! I hope some of the hobgoblins check your website and see themselves…..Well done with the pumpkins too!

    Hallowe’en is a great holiday – whatever a person does or doesn’t do, is just perfectly fine

  13. Ruth Wolery says

    I love the carved pumpkins – with such great expressions. The kids were all dressed great and their faces were beautiful. I am sure it was a fun night for all.

  14. David Martin says

    Deborah as always I am impressed with your energy, whimsy your sheet delight in making things look and feel spectacular.

  15. Linda Gallinatti says

    Great pumpkins and darling “trick-or-treaters.” Bet everyone had fun!

  16. Peter Hobbs says

    Fabulous carving…it’s a growing event here in Australia. We sat out on outer front porch for the evening with a big bowl f treats for the passing kids…was a great night.

  17. Ilene Wolff says

    Oooooh, wish I had those pumpkin seeds you threw away! They make a great snack.

  18. Great faces on kids and pumpkins. You really know how to design to the proper scale for the setting.

  19. Joni Wehrenberg says

    So much fun! I wish I could have went Trick or Treating at your house too! But 68 is probably a little old for that….. Love your creative side coming through on your great pumpkins. Fun! Fun! Fun!!!

  20. Great trick or treaters – we get fewer every year it seems (changing neighborhood demographic?) like but are ready anyway just in case.

    I’ve moved to battery operated candles for the jackolanterns and cut out the bottom instead of the top (sitting the carved part down over the lights….) in hopes of preserving the stems a bit more. Serious fun, pumpkin carving.


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