Serving students and faculty since 1971

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. The excitement of creating a costume, decorating the yard, carving the pumpkins, and coming up with spooky treats is just the most fun. As a child we would each get a pumpkin and Mom would help us carve it.

She always cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and then we would have to dig out all the gooey seeds. We would design our own faces on the pumpkins, but she would help us cut them out. Then we got to take them out onto the front porch and after we lit our little candles, we would have to try to stick them down through the hole in the top without burning ourselves. The bottom wasn’t always flat, and sometimes the candles would fall over. Once we got them lit we would all stand back in the yard to admire our creations.

Once I had kids of my own the creation of Halloween (and all the other holidays) became my responsibility. I happily carried on my family’s traditions while creating some new ones. Every year we would go to the pumpkin patch and the children got to pick out their own pumpkin. Here is where things changed. I discovered a lot of new tools which were “kid friendly” so my children could do the carving themselves and I wouldn’t have to worry about them being hurt. And then one year I had a revelation. One of my boys asked me why we cut out the top of the pumpkin. I thought about it for a while, and then I realized it would be so much better to cut out the bottom. When I cut a hole in the bottom I could make sure the pumpkin could sit flat as the boys carved them AND I could set the lit candle on the front porch and simply set the pumpkin over it. Voila!

“What does all this have to do with the writing center?” You ask. A few things. In the writing center there are people who know about all kinds of cool tools to help writers. Sometimes using these tools can help us create our papers without “hurting ourselves.” And sometimes while we are working on papers in the writing center the tutor asks just the right question and we realize just how much easier writing could be if we just look at the task in a different way. Sometimes it is so much better to cut out the bottom instead of the top!