The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 31, 2012

BICKER: Knives are a girl’s best friend — at Halloween that is

By Angie Bicker
Lifestyle Editor

CLINTON — I have been wielding a butcher knife like a mad woman this week. I can't control myself. My actions make Norman Bates in “Psycho” look sane.

Knives really can be a girl's best friend, just like diamonds, around Halloween. I've been using my handy, dandy butcher knife, along with some smaller knives, to carve pumpkins this week. After carving one, I found that I was hooked. I couldn't get enough. I loved cutting through my pumpkin's flesh and pulling out its slimy insides.

With my first victim, I decided to make a happy jack-o-lantern. I cut out her eyes, nose, a very broad smile and even a dimple to complete the look. As I stood back and assessed my work, I decided Michelangelo could not have done better. With a little bit of an inflated ego, I decided to grab another pumpkin.

As I sized up my next victim, with my trusty knives at my side, I decided to get a little fancier and a little darker. I grabbed a pencil and started to write the words C-E-M-E-T-E-R-Y across my pumpkin.

I didn't realize how long a word that was until I started carving each letter out. According to my watch, it took me about 45 painful minutes to finish those letters. After massaging a cramped hand for a few minutes, I carved some tombstones to finish it off.

In order to get the full Halloween experience, I borrowed some candles from my neighbor, Sandy, who lives a couple miles down the road. This really did the trick. Halloween came to life in a split second with the lighting of a match.

The smell of the candles sent chills up my spine as I turned the lights off. I then let out a deep laugh. I swear I could see my old dog's hair stand up on the back of her neck.

At that moment, I think Cordy thought I had indeed turned into Norman Bates.

If there wasn't enough creepiness in the air at my house, I decided to carve another victim Monday afternoon.

This time I decided to carve the letters, W-I-C-K-E-D, which was a lot shorter than cemetery. If you couldn't have guessed it, I did that on purpose. Why make the same painful choice twice?

After carving three pumpkins, I had a lot of pumpkin seeds on my counter. So, I decided to bake them. I covered a pizza pan with olive oil, spread out my pumpkin seeds, covered them with some more oil and sprinkled them with seasoning salt.

Since I had never baked pumpkin seeds before, I wasn't quite sure what temperature to set my oven.

Unfortunately, I set it a little too high to start off with. I cranked my oven up to 350 degrees. At first I thought I was hearing things, but then I smartened up and discovered the popping noise was coming from my oven.

My pumpkin seeds were popping right off the pizza pan and hurling around in my oven. To salvage my seeds, I turned the heat down. After that, my seeds settled down — lesson learned.

Baking pumpkin seeds creates a wonderful aroma. It's hard to describe, but your house will smell great.

I took handful after handful and stuffed them in my mouth. Thank goodness, Halloween only comes once a year.

Unfortunately, I think my knife wielding escapade is over for the year. It was definitely fun while it lasted.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at