Halloween – Quickly

We all know that Halloween is not going to be its normal self this year. But the only bit Ellen usually enjoys is making the pumpkin (and eating chocolate) – and both those things we can still do.

I had two objectives for the activity.

(a) for Ellen to think about emotions when drawing the face. Was our pumpkin going to be happy? Grumpy? Spooky or something else?

(b) I was planning to get very tired cutting the pumpkin and was going to see if Ellen would leap to my rescue with ideas of how to help.

I ruminated about how the pumpkin was feeling, careful to make statements and not ask questions. Ellen took the pen off me and drew a face in about two seconds flat.

‘Oooh’ I said ‘I wonder how this pumpkin’s feeling’.


‘He has a very wobbly mouth, maybe he’s feeling a bit worried.’

Ellen shook her head vigorously.

‘In that case he must be feeling a bit spooky’. Again the shake of the head. This went on for a few minutes, until Ellen must have been completely fed up with me and said


‘Ah so the pumpkin is feeling…quickly?’

Ellen nodded.

It was actually quite difficult to carve the quickly pumpkin, mainly because it was so small. I had no choice on size, it was literally the last pumpkin the the shop. I carved the eyes and then Ellen spent quite a long time happily scooping out the seeds. My idea of making soup out of the insides evaporated as the pumpkin seemed 98% stringy flesh. I moved onto stage 2.

‘My arms is feeling quite tired now. I’m not sure I can carve his mouth’. I paused. Nothing, Ellen continued to scoop.

I put the knife in and then dramatically dropped my arm with a sigh ‘this is so difficult.’

Ellen handed me the scissors.

‘Good idea’ I said ‘but I don’t think they’re going to work’. I mimed cutting the pumpkin ineffectually with scissors.

Ellen was now completely fixated on getting every last seed out of the pumpkin. All my sighing and rubbing my arm and saying I couldn’t do it were to no avail. Ellen just kept handing me the scissors and scooping. I was stuck in my declarative language loop and couldn’t see a way out of it without asking a direct question.

In the end after some non verbal language and a bit more scaffolding, Rich finally read the situation and came to my rescue.

‘My arms isn’t tired, I could finish the mouth’ he said. Hallelujah!

I was definitely feeling quickly after all of that.

This is how you look when you’re quickly