This time of the year is by far, my favourite time of the year. The weather becomes a bit cooler and the colours and textures associated with Autumn is sensation overload. I can't simply walk past a bunch of fallen leaves, oh no, they are asking to be kicked around the place! They want to be kicked around the place, it's their destiny!
Also its the time of year for pumpkin carving. Back in the 80's, early 90's in Ireland, the local supermarket (Remember Super Crazy Prices anyone?) didn't stock pumpkins and so we carved turnips or potatoes (I know, potatoes - could I get any more sterotypical Irish?) and sat the finished product in our windows to scare away ghosts and ghouls. By their nature, turnips are hard to carve so the helpful hand of a parent was always required. They were also much smaller, so in comparison to their pumpkin counterparts, they didn't make a scary impact.
However, times have changed now and Halloween has become crazy popular and also very 'american-ised'. (I mean that in a good way!). In the weeks leading up to Halloween, the shops are stocked with costumes and all the decorations a haunted house could possibly want. Everyone (adults included) talks about what they'll be for Halloween and many of my arty friends go all out and I mean all out in their attempt to create a one of a kind costume. Just take a look at Ruth for example!
This year for Halloween pumpkin carving, I took it a step further and arranged a pumpkin carving class for interested student residents where I work. I had no idea how popular it would be with nearly 70 students wanting to sign up. I had to cap the class at 30 as I had a small space reserved for the class, but at least when it rolls around again next year, I can reserve a bigger space and accomodate more students.
The majority of students who signed up had never carved a pumpkin before and were pretty excited about the prospect. For them, Halloween isnt celebrated (these students hail from Italy, Spain and South Korea) and before they carved anything, they really wanted to know "Why do you guys do this!?" Each student in the group got a free pumpkin, carving equipment and templates if they wern't a dab hand at drawing free hand.
The class went really smooth. No one managed to cut any fingers off, even though I did have the First Aid box on stand by...just incase. The results were fantastic and the best part, we took them outside on a dark evening, lit them and took some great photographs. A highly enjoyable evening, I'll be running this again next year, no hesitation!