If you're stuck for inspiration when it comes to your pumpkin's face, the Redmer girls of Westport have some great tips. Claire, 7, is lying in wait for me on the front steps, surrounded by cobwebs. A giant spider drops suddenly from the porch ceiling and scares the bejeesus out of me. Things are a little less spooky indoors where Brooke, 9, is drawing at the kitchen table next to a brilliantly carved pumpkin, christened Senior French Dude. A flashlight sits inside to light him up -- a safer option to a candle -- while the girls work on their second pumpkin.
Carving the Halloween pumpkins is very much a family affair in the Redmer household. Alan, the dad, does the hard work scooping out the pumpkin guts. I usually help him, says Brooke. But she has to do the drawings, chimes in Claire. Sloan, 2, practices her favorite new word pumkin, pumkin.
We used to have a book with pumpkin faces, says Claire. But we lost it, adds Brooke. So this year the girls decided to draw a whole load of different faces on paper to find inspiration. Brooke volunteers it was their dads idea, but the girls have taken off with it. There are tons of fantastically scary faces, though none of them look like Senior French Dude. We took bits from all the pictures, the girls chorus. We liked the buck teeth and he has a mustache. Apparently, he also has a French accent. Very spooky!
Lori, the mom, gets into the action by supervising pumpkin seed baking. Brooke is in charge of cleaning the seeds: I put them in the strainer and rinse them off, she says. I do it with her, adds Claire, and then I spread them on the tray, just a few at a time. Brooke sprinkles them with oil and Claire adds the salt, admitting that shes not very good at the oil. The seeds go into a 375 degree oven and are ready when theyre brown and crunchy.
With only a few days to go before Halloween, the excitement is palpable in the Redmer house. The pumpkins will stay in the garage until October 31 so the squirrels dont eat them, but in the meantime, the girls have their costumes to get ready. Brooke is going to be a farmer, Claire is a shepherdess and little Sloan will be a sheep.
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