Why pineapples and watermelons make better jack-o-lanterns than pumpkins
I do not pretend to know by what witchcraft the stringy, weird-smelling, seed-filled junk that is the inside of a pumpkin becomes a delicious pie. I assume it's not an easy process.
With my limited kitchen skills, pumpkins might as well be filled with sawdust or packing peanuts, or even Circus Peanuts, and nobody wants to snack on any of those things. Yes, I know you can roast the pumpkin seeds in the oven, but that has always felt more like recycling than a treat.
Watermelons and pineapples, however, are filled with delicious watermelon and pineapple. That's why this Halloween season I said, "If I'm going to decorate with a thing that's going to rot into mush and attract ants to my porch, I'm going to get something I want out of it." Then I made jack-o-lanterns out of a watermelon and a pineapple.
Pineapple and watermelon jack-o-lanterns are not a new idea. A search shows that people have been posting photos of them online for at least a couple years, but for some reason, they're still not all that popular.
The pineapple cost less than a pumpkin, and was fairly easy to hollow out. You can be smart, slice the top and bottom off, then cut out the edible part in one big cylinder, or leave the bottom on and hack away from the top as I did. The outside of the pineapple was easier to carve than a pumpkin's rind, and the candle made the lines between the segments of the pineapple shell glow in a cool pattern.
The watermelon, while a little more expensive this time of year, was also easier to cut into than a pumpkin. Using one of those little saws that come with pumpkin carving kits, the melon seemed to hold up to detailed carving just as well as a pumpkin would have. Tip: find a watermelon that is sort of flat on one side so your jack-o-lantern doesn't roll over.
If you're looking for some jack-o-lantern ideas that are more interesting than that classic toothy-grinning face ("trumpkin," maybe?) you can find some inspiration here.