Jack-O'-Lantern Carving: The Intern Way

Jack-O'-Lantern Carving: The Intern Way

Once upon a Wednesday afternoon, a mysterious pumpkin appeared in the United States World War I Centennial Commission's spacious intern room. Accompanying the pumpkin was a set of orange carving tools and a flyer announcing a building-wide pumpkin carving competition — with a deadline of Friday afternoon!

 

Curious (though apprehensive), the intrepid interns approached their supervisor to inquire about the impending competition. The wise supervisor, ever smiling, informed the interns that they indeed had only 48 hours to transform their glorious pumpkin into an even more glorious jack-o'-lantern.

 

... and thus began the collaborative pumpkin-carving adventures of five dedicated interns with zero pumpkin carving experience!

 

The office interns' annual pumpkin carving ceremony begins.

 

Step 1: Grabbing the Guts

The first step in our quest, according to the all-knowing oracle that we consulted (Google), was to saw off the top of the pumpkin. We plopped the pumpkin onto a piece of cardboard to protect our table from debris and quickly sawed off the top to access the inside of the pumpkin. Perhaps we sawed with less finesse and precision than desired but we accomplished our mission nonetheless. After watching Intern Ryan meekly scraping at the interior of the pumpkin, I hip-checked them to the side, grabbed the orange scooping tool, and threw my shoulder into the cleansing of the pumpkin guts. Once all of my latent frustration had been released into the scraping of the pumpkin guts, trusty Intern Ryan stepped back in to assist with the scooping of the pumpkin guts. We pulled over a spare garbage bin, he rolled up his sleeves, and then we were in business.

 

Intern Ryan braving the depths of the pumpkin bare-handed

for the greater guts-grabbing good.

 

Step 2: Deciding on and Drawing a Design

We went through a long brainstorming session about what to carve into our pumpkin in order to help it realize its full jack-o'-lantern potential. This was a very serious issue because we couldn't un-carve our pumpkin once we stabbed into it with a knife, so we had to be certain in our design decision. We considered our organization's logo, but determined it would be too difficult to carve — too intricate. We considered a poppy, because of the tradition of red remembrance poppies linked to WWI, and I even sketched up a mock-up but we decided not to carve this design too. Ultimately, however, what started as a joke became our pumpkin design: "#CountdowntoVeteransDay." #CountdowntoVeteransDay is a reference to a social media campaign supported by the United States World War I Centennial Commission that aims to promote Veterans Day as a "day on" dedicated to volunteer service instead of a day off. After agreeing unanimously upon this idea, we began drawing the design onto the pumpkin with an whiteboard marker so we could wash it off later because we are a band of fantastic, prepared and thoughtful interns.

 

The planning of the pumpkin preparation is a precarious process.

 

Step 3: Collaborative Carving!

This was perhaps the trickiest of trials that we faced — actually carving. Courageous Intern Jill stepped up to the task, wielding a tiny orange carving knife with itty-bitty serrations on the blade. With Intern Josh securing the pumpkin in place, Intern Jill was able to carve our entire design into the pumpkin over the span of an hour. Or two. Maybe three. Regardless of how much time was spent, Intern Jill was nonetheless absolutely steadfast in her duty and steady with her cramping hand before passing the carving torch to Intern Ryan. Intern Ryan then proceeded to take on the unenviable responsibility of carving a doughboy into the pumpkin. Despite many doubtful stares and and skeptical raised eyebrows, Intern Ryan was extremely successful in his ambitious carving endeavor! Throughout the entire process, neither their resolves nor their hands wavered.

 

Intern Jill carefully carves while Intern Josh happily holds.

 

Step 4: Find a Flashlight, Lose the Light

Once our jack-o'-lantern was completed, we only needed the final touch — a light! Weary and battle-hardened, we trekked back across the hallway to our wise supervisor's lair and requested the use of his flashlight. Flashlight in hand, we marched back over to the beloved fruit of our labor, gingerly placed the flashlight inside, and switched off the lights. Behold! Everything looks better in the dark.

 

TRIUMPH AT LAST.


... And long into the afternoon we cheered, our quest finally complete.

 

Step 5: Wait for a Winner

Unfortunately, we will not know the results of our building-wide jack-o'-lantern carving competition until Monday; however, the journey we took as a motley crew of interns was truly a reward in itself! Many laughs were shared and no blood was shed; truly, our pumpkin carving adventure was a success. This is where I would proclaim that in the end, all of the interns won, but that would be a lie. Let's be honest: nothing would be as sweet as winning that building-wide competition. Although the doughnuts that our benevolent supervisor brought us come awfully close. Still, we all received a hearty laugh from the process and despite being up to my elbows in slimy pumpkin guts, I regret nothing.

 

Interns Josh and Jill getting a giggle from gashing a gourd.

 

... And thus this particular Halloween adventure comes to a close!

Have a happy, safe, and spooky Halloween, everyone!

 


Read Adrienne's previous blog posts

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

Learn More