Most people describe their favorite part of Halloween as being able to dress however they want with little judgment, scaring the crap out of other people or being able to drink their livers into a cirrhotic pickle in the middle of the week. As a lover of all things festive, I must agree with most people (with the exception of destroying my liver), but there is one thing I think is incredibly underrated about Halloween: the post-Halloween experience. Yes, nothing gets me off more about Halloween than the day after when it’s raining discounted candy and holiday decorations.
This year was no different. As I started putting together my holiday decorations and packing away my celebratory darkness (yes, it’s November, fire up the Mariah Carey, people), I sang, danced and looked over to a corner of my apartment and saw what would become the bane of my existence. I had completely forgotten about my rotting pumpkin, which reminded me I had yet to roast its seeds, a feat I had yet to accomplish on my own. Yes, for three weeks, I had neglected separating the pumpkin’s potential future children from its ripped-out womb (how is that for imagery?).
I immediately ran to my fridge and got started. Keep in mind, this was three pumpkins’ worth of pumpkin insides, so I had a lot to work with. I dug through the bag of pumpkin pulp, taking in the shockingly non-moldy, raw pumpkin stench that has always haunted my dreams since I was a kid. I immediately got flashbacks with each rip into the stringy mess: my dad looking at me excitedly, shoving pumpkin pulp in my face and laughing, a true American horror story. After about an hour of facing repressed memories, I had finally separated the seeds. This was the point at which the “perils” of this article began.
Once all the seeds were separated, I washed them in a colander. I shook up the colander as I ran water over the seeds, spilling seeds all over the kitchen. The plops I heard were the sounds of my hopes and dreams of a cute fall snack hitting the floor and dropping into the garbage dispenser. I picked up what I could of the seeds (and my dignity) and continued working. I am a poor college student and am not about to go buy a cookie sheet for this one project, so I improvised with a piece of foil, praising myself for my creativity. The seeds were then set out for about another hour, salted to dry them out.
Finally, I picked up my piece of foil covered in salty pumpkin seed, dumped some coconut oil onto it, and upon putting it in the oven, the thing collapsed. Yes, bringing down all of the seeds with it. I sat for about five minutes just staring at the mess wondering to myself, “How could something so seemingly easy become so complicated?” It was at this point that I started questioning my abilities as a cook/overall human being. I salvaged what I could from the disaster and threw it in the oven.
Keep in mind, this process is only supposed to take an hour including separation, cleaning, drying and cooking. I guess my tears added an extra two hours, because this was a three-hour process. The sound of my oven beeping was like the sound of angels only heard at the pearly gates. I opened up the oven and carefully cradled my disaster out of the oven. I picked up one of the seeds, popped it in my mouth. It tasted like pure oil and salt. It was in that moment that the walls began to crash in around me and my life was officially in shambles. I even brought the abominations to our On The Menu section meeting at the Daily Nexus office and no one wanted to try them.
I sit here today staring at these seeds wondering what I am going to do with them next. I can’t plant them or anything. Mariah Carey’s holiday album plays in the background while I light my pine-scented candles. I won’t let this experience take away from my post-Halloween joy; rather, I will let it strengthen my cause: All vestiges of fall do not belong in the month of November. Happy holidays, kids.