Have to deal with guts to get glory of jack-o-lanterns

Emma, Amanda and Rob Gamby carve pumpkins at Wood County Park District event.

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

As Breanna Serrato reached into the pumpkin and pulled out the guts, she got a huge grin on her face.

“I love it, actually, getting messy. The squishiness of it,” the 17-year-old from Bowling Green said.

Not everyone shared those feelings.

Breanna Serrato pulls out pumpkin guts.

At a nearby picnic table, Jessica Nekoranec, of Risingsun, grimaced as she scooped out the juicy innards. She was enjoying the carving, but the “sticking your hand in – not so much,” she said.

Nearly 40 people picked out pumpkins Thursday evening for the annual jack-o-lantern making sponsored by the Wood County Park District. The pumpkins were carved at a shelter house on the Wood County Historical Center grounds, where they will be put on display for the annual Folklore and Funfest this weekend.

Some came armed with their own carving equipment, accessories and definite ideas for their pumpkin art. Others just let the spirits take them.

With spooky music playing in the background, the carvers got to work.

“I thought at home what I’m going to do before I got down here,” said Pam Douglas, of Portage. Her plan was to turn the pumpkin into Mickey Mouse, with two Folger coffee can lids acting as the big mouse ears.

Pam Douglas carves jack-o-lantern.

“He may not end up looking like Mickey Mouse, but that’s my plan,” she said.

Mary Grzybowski, of Bowling Green, won last year for carving a cat. She was hoping to repeat that winning design. “I had an idea, but it’s not turning out right,” she said.

Grzybowski wore her gardening gloves for the task – more out of habit than due to the gooey guts. “I’m a gardener, nothing bothers me,” she said.

Sheila Kratzer, of Bowling Green, had no grand plans for her pumpkin. “Just your basic jack-o-lantern,” she said. But she was hoping for good placement on the historic center grounds for the Folklore and Funfest.

“You don’t want to be by the outhouse,” she said with a smile.

Kratzer’s friend, Monica Bihn of Bowling Green, was struggling with her pumpkin design. So Kratzer offered a bit of advice. When all else fails, “go Frankenstein.”

At the same picnic table, BGSU student Michael Borowski had just finished cleaning out the stringy, seedy guts. If awards were given for the insides, he would have won the spic and span prize. But the outside remained a mystery. “I’m still trying to figure that out,” he said.

Grady and Jessica Nekoranec carve their pumpkins.

Nekoranec, the mom who was a little squeamish about the guts, was planning a traditional look. Her 12-year-old son, Grady, had something more creative in mind. He was busy trying to carve a Lego figure face.

“It makes mom nervous,” Nekoranec said as her son used sharp tools to carve his jack-o-lantern. But she pointed out that there are all kinds of tools now to help with the process – special pumpkin “saws,” tools made specifically to scrape out the inside, and stencils for those who wanted extra help on the faces.

“They didn’t have these when we were kids,” she said.

Nicole Wilson, of Toledo, brought her two little girls to the activity. They were too young to realize the limitations of pumpkin carving. The 3-year-old really wanted earrings on the jack-o-lantern. But she quickly forgot that when she looked inside the pumpkin. “I’m not touching that,” she said. “Do they have cookies?”

Families fill shelter house for pumpkin carving.

While the carved pumpkins will be put to use decorating the historical center grounds, the uncarved pumpkins will be used for a jack-o-lantern archery shoot planned by the park district on the historical center grounds on Oct. 23, from 5 to 7 p.m.

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