Halloween has always been like the opening ceremony for the
holiday season. The weather’s a little crisper, the half-dozen campus trees
that change leaves have done so, and nerds battle unfailingly to find the most
hilarious, obscure costume they can. One October essential, sadly, is facing
“The Health Center has seen a rise in
pumpkin-carving-related injuries the past couple years,” Bert Reyes, self-proclaimed
injury “expert,” “certified medical professional,” and kind of a tool, says. “Students
carve pumpkins as a party activity, and tend to be inebriated.”
I point out, insightfully, that students have always done
this and it’s totally fine ““ It’s a college evolution of a childhood tradition.
Dr. Reyes raises his eyebrows. “Of our major injuries the past couple years,
six of them have been yourself,” he explains. Stupidly.
Carving jack-o-lanterns drunk is a beloved aspect of the
season ““ I’ve been doing it ever since my grandmother taught me to carve
pumpkins, college-style. That woman had two fingers and loved her whiskey. It’s
continued to be an important part of my life; I fell in love with and broke up
with my first boyfriend in a single evening, for pumpkin and knife-related
Reyes continues ““ “those carving-kit knives are flimsy, but
quite serrated. You’d be surprised the creative ways students have hurt
themselves with even the plastic scoop ““”
To try to make clear how much I treasure this tradition, I
whip out my pictures of my past three years carving pumpkins: untouched pumpkin
I forgot to carve. Attempted-Betty-White-turned-unspecific-stabbing. Pumpkin I
somehow set on fire.
The doctor’s blank stare says he doesn’t think I’m proving
anything. My point, I explain, is that each of these – however dangerous or
unimpressive – is a memory. It was fun. It’s a part of this holiday that I
consider irreplaceable, even if unemotional suits like him want to discourage
the public from participating.
“How did you set it on fire?!” he asks.
I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.
With the new safety warnings, the future of this tradition
is uncertain. I, for one, will do what I can to keep it going. In your face,
Dr. Reyes. In. Your. Face.