Jack-o-Lanterns: Gearing Up to Geek Out

We’re already in the thick of fall, and I’ve had my Halloween decorations (small though they may be) out for days already.  Maybe this is part of the continuing “I’m getting so old!” theme, but I’ve noticed I’ve had to adjust my expectations for Halloween over the years.  I’m obviously not of trick-or-treating age anymore, and actually, as an adult, I’ve never actually been visited by trick-or-treaters (I’m told malls and parking lots are the places to do this now.  So weird).  Most of the “adult” Halloween parties I’ve seen advertised require a lot less clothing, and a lot more alcohol and, well, energy than I seem to possess.  Oh, and I don’t like actually getting scared anymore, so that leaves out most things of the haunted house variety.  I swear Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but sometimes it’s hard to recall exactly why.

Basically, I focus on the aspects I like and scrap the rest.  I’m not into gross-out decorations, but I love ones that are just a little “spooky” and classic.  And what’s most classic of all?  Jack-o-lanterns.

Best of all, jack-o-lanterns don’t feel like something I’ve rehashed to death.  Growing up in Florida, Halloween could be as cold as 30 degrees F or as hot as 90.  Most of the time you can count on being on the warmer end of the spectrum, so pumpkins would rot and mold faster than you could egg a house.  You could wait til Halloween to carve one, but I was usually too excited about trick-or-treating or a Halloween party to bother.  It was easier and safer to stick to the ersatz pumpkins.

As an adult, though, I have more time and patience.  Why not carve a pumpkin now, and another one closer to Halloween?  There are no pumpkin rules!  The only problem is that I don’t have the skill and experience gained from a childhood spent carving.  And, as usual, there are geek versions of jack-o-lanterns that I can only gawk and aspire to (pumpkin above comes from Geeks Are Sexy).

The first time I saw “pro” jack-o-lantern carving was actually on an episode of Roseanne, way back in 1991.  I had never seen shading, or, really, anything other than the standard triangle face.  Now that I’m finally ready to branch out, I think everyone else is way ahead of me.

I’ve seen Star Wars characters, pop culture references, the Linux penguin.  I’ve seen work so incredible it looks like it’s been photoshopped on.  Combining a little of the best of everything is the appropriately-named Pumpkin Geek; he carves craft pumpkins, so they last forever (maybe my mother was on to something all those years ago).   And trust me, unlike most of my creations, these are ones you’d want to last forever; he covers a slew of genres, including geek favorites like Doctor Who and Harry Potter.

Because I’m so traditional when it comes to Halloween, I don’t know that I’ll try something especially geeky in my jack-o-lanterns this year; maybe a haunted house or a graveyard scene.  But I want to hear from other, craftier people!  What are your pumpkin plans this spooky season?  Will I be the only one carving early?  Is there a particular source of patterns I should be searching out?  Is there a pumpkin you’re particularly proud of?  Share with me below!

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