My Chilean friend Alvaro invited me to a pumpkin party the weekend before Halloween. I told him I was not very familiar with the pumpkin tradition but liked the idea of meeting at night with friends and collaboratively work in the creation of the famous jack-o’-lanterns. Although I have enjoyed the passion that people in the USA have for Halloween rituals I have only participated in the costume festivities and never got involved in the carving. This year, however, was good for transforming pumpkins into spooky heads.
The transformative process requires as a sort of lobotomia. The top of the pumpkin head needs to be opened.
After opening the top, one can proceed to empty the inside. With the help of a spoon and hand, one needs to take out all the seeds and as much pulp as possible.
Pulp and seeds can be saved in containers for later use in soups, cakes, or any kind of dishes.
Once the pumpkin is empty one can proceed to anthropomorphize it. Add eyes, nose, eyebrows and mouth, and suddenly you have human-like face ready to be illuminated by a candle. In the dark of the night, the pumpkin made lanterns, also called jack-o’-lanterns, look spooky and evoke some sort of mysterious pagan ritual that remains unknown for me.