Pumpkin Therapy

Fall has become my favorite time of year, all that anticipation of cooler weather, harvest time and Halloween. I get to wear boots again instead of sandals and light fires in the woodstove. But the fall makes me sad remembering people I loved who died then. Ever since my brother died, we have gathered together to carve pumpkins with his daughters and theirs, my family and cousin and hers. It meant a lot that first month to all be together after he died so unexpectedly.

Pumpkins take a lot of time to carve- the cutting, the scooping, making the design, fixing and altering it because it never looks like what you had in mind. I can tell you a lot about how that works! But having that time together outside, talking, laughing and reminiscing is priceless. Of course, along with reminiscing comes denying, at least from me as the matriarch now of our family.

We are blessed with an assortment of skills, mostly artistic, that can easily be duplicated using your phone, Pinterest or social media for pumpkin carving or painting ideas. We get carried away using hand tools, drills, stencils, spray paint, gold and silver markers, glitter, fancy pumpkin carving saws, but all you really need is a black magic marker. The party truly gets started once the electric drill revs up! Here is a video of the first time Sadie joined us and made a really cool rainbow wax decoration using crayons and a blow dryer.

I started calling it pumpkin therapy because being with one another working on a shared activity that was suitable for everyone, no matter what age or skill level left us feeling renewed, loved and able to shoulder on with our individual grief. I can think of nothing better to renew us now in 2020 than an old-fashioned pumpkin party.

I encourage you to gather safely- socially distanced, outside, masked, for a shorter period of time if you are mixing households or over Zoom like a webcam for a pumpkin carving party.

Save the seeds, roast them in salt and garlic and eat them warm. Send people home with a jarful to eat and remember that time together.

- Annie