Monday, October 13, 2003

Pumpkins with purpose

I've never been a big one for Halloween decorations, much to my kids' chagrin. They're always lobbying for jack-o-lanterns on the steps and skeletons on the lawn, and I'm lucky if I can just manage to get their school Halloween artwork tacked up on the fridge. I'm not particularly proud of the fact that we've never carved a pumpkin together, but given the amount of mess I'm pretty sure my son could make of the seeds and such, I'd probably just go with my own parents' tradition of drawing a face on the thing with a Magic Marker and leaving it at that. This year, in a variation on that theme, my daughter has an extra credit assignment from middle school that involves turning a pumpkin in a globe, complete with latitude and longitude lines and cut-out drawings of the continents to paste on. That's a much better use for the big orange veggie than making a scary face, as far as I'm concerned, and I'm happy to see that her teachers are thinking in creative and hands-on ways. ... In other pumpkin-related news, Ken Swarner's newest Family Man column describes a far more ignoble end to put a pumpkin to than a bumpy, misshapen globe. Maybe next year, if he's serious about keeping his carving knives under of lock and key, he ought to consider turning jack-o-lantern season into an excuse for a good old-fashioned social studies lesson.

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