The debate about how Christians should treat Halloween (no pun intended!) continues. Farrah's dad, for example, is on the end of the spectrum that is totally against having anything to do with Halloween. No costumes, no pumpkins, no candy, no nothing. Give the devil no quarter (or M&Ms, for that matter). On the other end of the spectrum are those who celebrate it full-tilt, even though they know of its pagan, death-related origins.
Without straying off the main point of my post, I'll just state that my wife, son, and I just enjoy dressing up as superheroes, knights, fairies, etc..., carving pumpkins, and handing out candy. Not only don't we do any scary stuff, but we try to use the event as an opportunity to witness for the Lord. The primary way we witness on Oct. 31 is through our pumpkin carving. In fact, just today, my wife ran across a beautiful analogy between pumpkin carving and salvation! Be sure to check it out!
So enough background already. I thought I would show you a gallery of past carvings that our little family has done. We're no Michaelangelo or Rodin, but we're learning.
I believe we started carving pumpkins together in 2002, when Kylen was almost 3 years old. Of course, he wasn't old enough at first, or really interested, so our first efforts were strictly products of two grown-ups. Please forgive the bad quality of these photos, but I was lazy and just took digital pictures of the originals, while they were still in their albums! You may flog me when ready.
With Kylen nearly 6, he was finally ready to really carve something, all by himself! You can see the cute result below. No, not the baby! The wolf-like creature! I think it may have been supposed to be a bear. Didn't he do a great job, though?
The baby is actually my wife's, who actually stuck a plastic binkie with rapidly flashing lights into its mouth. Unfortunately, late October weather is cold enough, over at our place, to kill most any small battery.
As for me, I decided to get brave and feed my superhero obsession, by carving Superman's insignia. To avoid fully cutting out the diamond shape that surrounds the S, I engulfed it in flames. In the end, it gave it a nice effect.
For lights, we finally settled on using a string of red C9 Christmas lights. We've used them every year since.
Farrah and I were inspired to again carve something about the Lord. We stayed simple, but powerful... just like the Gospel itself!
If I remember correctly, I was trying too hard to give Kylen tips on how to draw on his pumpkin (I'm an incurable perfectionist). He got really upset and decided to just draw something on it, without carving anything. That's why the middle pumpkin has no lights. I'd like to say that I've learned from the experience, but Farrah and Kylen may disagree with my assessment.
Ah, this was the Year of Green Lantern. After endless hours scouring the Internet for an adult-size Green Lantern costume (found one!), I just had to carve his logo on my pumpkin! Again, the rays of "light" prevent the logo from becoming fully separated. And, it just worked out that I had just gotten some red-and-green C9 Christmas lights, the previous year. The green ones gave it the perfect finishing touch.
Kylen carved a castle. His skills definitely improved, although he wasn't sure how to do that skinny roof, between the towers.
Farrah stuck with simple-but-powerful. How totally awesome (perfectly planned!) that such simple symbols as a cross and a heart can convey such a powerful message!
And here we are, caught up to the present. Kylen's carving skills (see rightmost pumpkin) have skyrocketed. He did it all by himself! Although you cannot see it, there is lettering that says, "Jesus loves you."
Farrah read a little about making more delicate designs, by scraping off layers of the shell, allowing light to shine brighter, through the thinner areas. I let her be the guinea pig, because I was busy preparing for my homeschool co-op computer class. The middle pumpkin is hers, and you can see a close-up, further down. She did a great job!
I decided to get way brave, and actually try a real photo. I thought the one of Kylen as a baby, with the Bible, which I use on this blog, would be perfect. I opened it in Paint Shop Pro and reduced the number of colors to three: black, gray, and white (see bottom picture). I don't know if the pros actually project the picture onto the pumpkin, to make it easier, but I just drew it directly. Carving... err, scraping it wasn't too bad, though I had to use a melon baller and a paring knife, to augment my poorly designed plastic pumpkin scraper. And although I drew Kylen's right eye correctly, I accidentally scraped off its bottom part. Oops!