For the first time in several years, both B. and I would be available for greeting trick-or-treaters, so for the first time in several years we visited the sincere pumpkin patch - the one with a petting zoo of goats, rabbits, and chicks - to fetch a hefty gourd, and acquired bags of candy. B. drew the face on the pumpkin and I carved it, we set it out with a votive candle inside, and waited to see what would happen.
From a walk outside, B. reported that ours was one of only two houses of the dozen or so in the interior of the complex with a jack-o-lantern out. We're at one end (and not easily seen until one comes right up to the end of the driveway), and the other was at the far other end. Possibly many of our neighbors are busy celebrating Diwali instead.
A neighbor whose house is on the outside street side of the complex reported to B. that he'd gotten about 60 callers. Given the geography, it's not surprising that we got only two batches, one large group of mixed ages fairly early on, and three teenagers later.
Now we have this candy, which I'm supposed to be chary of eating in quantity.
Bonus paragraphs: Kalimac's secrets of pumpkin carving
I'm not a virtuoso carver by any means: roughly hacking out a simple face is as far as I go. But I have learned a couple tricks of the trade:
1. After cutting the top loose, make a couple small notches in its back. Make sure they go all the way through the thickness. These will provide flues and assure the candle doesn't flicker out through lack of oxygen.
2. To provide a stable base for the candle, since it's difficult to clean this out while reaching inside: after cutting the top, remove it (to get the stem out of the way) and flip the pumpkin over, placing it on a paper towel because a lot of the gunk will fall out. Then cut out the bottom, angling the knife so that the cut-out portion tends to fall in to the pumpkin; this will keep it secure once you've flipped the pumpkin back over again. Remove the bottom, slice the gunk off until you have a flat platform of pulp; reinsert.
(Well, that was useless, like the leftover candy: it'll have to be saved till next year)