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Media Fast Brings About Some Rather Angry Jack-o-Lanterns
The Decision to Fast From Media
The idea of a "fast" or of "fasting" is to abstain from something in order to allow something else to be observed or recognized. This something else is typically something that is important but may be pushed aside, neglected or completely forgotten.
In our family's situation, a media fast is observed for one week two times each year. We abstain from television, radio, ipods, smart-phones, etc. so that we can re-acquaint ourselves with one another. We have done this since our children were very young and it has always provided some real benefits and blessings.
This year, as our media fast ends, I wanted to write about how we were able to spend more time together as a family and create some rather interesting jack-o-lanterns. The time normally spent interacting with some type of media was spent together and let me tell you, that takes some getting used to each and every time we start one of these.
The First Day is the Hardest
After the first day of acclimating ourselves to a media-free environment, we began to figure ways we could spend our new found wealth of time. Halloween was soon upon us so we decided to take some extra time and put some considerable effort into making some really interesting jack-o-lanterns.
We also decided I should share this experience with all of you - so - what follows is a sort of step-by-step chronicling of the creation of our angry jack-o-lantern family...
In the Beginning was the Idea...
It all started with a picture that one of my kids saw on their FaceBook page. You may have seen the picture in which a larger pumpkin was seemingly eating a smaller one. We decided that we would try to do something similar.
So, together, we sat down and came up with several sketches, the final one (shown to the right) was voted the most popular.
Adding the Face to the Pumpkins
The drawings even show the detail of how the smaller pumpkin would be cut and fitted into the larger pumpkins mouth.
Next, we drew the faces on each pumpkin with a Sharpie. The largest (and meanest) pumpkin is shown here with the facial expression drawn on the front.
We also drew the faces on the smaller pumpkin - a true look of terror - and on the medium sized pumpkin who we decided would be a horrified observer of the other two.
In this photo, you can se the rectangular area on the right side of the mouth where the carved out band would fit. The small pumpkin would then be fitted into that rectangular slot. (More on this below)
Carving the Large Pumpkin
We carved out the facial expression on the bigger guy. We wanted to make him look exceptionally mean and like he was really biting down hard on the little guy.
We simply took the sketch (feel free to use ours) and transferred the facial expression to the front of the large pumpkin using a Sharpie pen. NOTE the rectangular slot on the right. This is where our small pumpkin will fit.
Carving the Small Pumpkin
We had 3 pumpkins; one about 6 inches high, one about 12 inches high and the larger pumpkin about 19-20 inched high.
We started with the smallest pumpkin first.
You can see that we first drew the expression on the surface with a Sharpie, then began to cut out sections starting with the eyes.
Next, we made a very shallow cut (about 1/8 inch deep) around the edges of the entire mouth. We then cut just the surface orange skin off, exposing the yellow underneath. From there, we made a deeper cut to make the opening in the mouth - careful to leave the area for the teeth untouched. Look closely at the first photo and you can see this.
After the opening was made for the mouth, we carved the shape of the teeth.
As a final touch, we cut some "battle scars" in the sides to indicate he put up a good fight before finally being bitten by the larger pumpkin.
Fitting the Small Pumpkin to the Larger Pumpkin
In this picture, you can see how we carved the top and bottom of the backside of the smaller pumpkin to allow for a tab. This tab fits into the rectangular slot we carved earlier into the big pumpkin.
This part is a bit tricky and you will want to cut the tab in the small pumpkin a bit larger than the slot in the large pumpkin. The reason being that you can always cut more away from the tab until it fits snugly into the slot.
If you like, use a pice of stiff paper cut to about 1 inch x 3 inches wide. Hold that onto the large pumpkin and trace around that making a rectangular shape. Then, do the same on the back of the small pumpkin. This will give you the right size tab and slot for both.
Bring Them Together
SO, when you're all done cutting, you should have a mean face on the big pumpkin and a terrified face on the small pumpkin.
If you have cut the slot and the tab correctly, you're ready to bring the two together in a synchronistic union of sheer horror!
From this angle, it really looks like our little guy is trying desperately to get away from the bite of his malevolent, hungry pursuer. I had no idea that jack-o-lanterns were cannibalistic.
I just love the added touch of the battle scars on the side of the small pumpkin, don't you?
The Final Touch
Lastly, we added the terrified onlooker, our medium pumpkin. Again, simply draw the face on the pumpkin and carve it accordingly. The look on this pumpkin's face should be shock and awe.
We carved a hole in the bottom of the large and medium pumpkin to allow for easy placement of a votive candle. This also made for a more secure base for these jack-o-lanterns. We used a tiny, shallow candle in the small jack-o-lantern.
In the pictures to the right, we see our family of jack-o-lanterns in their indigenous habitat. They seem to be a rather dysfunctional lot, but hey - it is Halloween, right?
I do hope your family has as much fun as we did as we created these jack-o-lanterns.