The Halloween when I almost punched a guy…and a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds

The family and I had a great time celebrating some of the traditions of Halloween. These include trick-or-treating, watching a toddler in a bee costume melting down on a driveway because why not, carrying said toddler home to watch a PBS program so kid dressed as a ladybug could trick-or-treat some more, and carving pumpkins.

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In short, par for the course.

 

We also roasted the seeds from the three pumpkins we carved to make what is pretty much the most favorite snack of fall for the grown ups. Halloween candy always seems to win out for the kids in terms of being the favorite.

 

And by “Halloween candy,” I mean the kale chips we give to the kids that we tell them are really chocolate.

 

And by “kale chips we give to the kids that we tell them are really chocolate” I actually mean Halloween candy. Don’t judge.

 

But the pumpkin seeds are really fantastic. Gardeners who still have leftover pumpkins–do not throw out those seeds! They really are worth the trouble. For years I would dutifully plunk them into a colander and run water over them to remove the disgusting slimy guts that attach themselves to the seeds. It took forever and didn’t usually get them clean.

 

But then I discovered a trick a few years ago that makes separating the seeds significantly easier.

 

Yes, I realize the headline of the post involves the time I almost punched a guy. We’ll get to it, I promise.

 

So the trick is to submerge the guts in water.

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Now if this isn’t the most unappetizing picture on the “Our Garden” website, I don’t know what is.

Then work the guts with your hands and the seeds come loose and float to the top. They can be scooped and separated until they look like…

 

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Slightly more appetizing….

Let them dry on a cookie sheet, toss with olive oil and some kosher salt or sea salt (I think it was two or so teaspoons for three pumpkins. Give or take.) and roast at 350, stirring every ten minutes.

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Three ingredients. Once you’ve reached this stage, all you have to do is not burn stuff.

Mine took about 45 minutes to be good and roast-y.

 

And there you have it. Roasted pumpkin seeds. Three large carving pumpkins gave us about a pint and a half of dry seeds. Despite making them only three days ago, they are now almost gone. Mmmm

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So yeah–the incident in the title. I warn you, it was awkward. But then again, so am I. And so is everyone, as evidenced by this awesome post by one of my favorite bloggers–the Bloggess. So read on, if you enjoy squirming at my expense.

 

I’m kind of a big guy. And I’m not exactly what you’d call a “fast” as a runner. Though back in the day on a family vacation, I did manage to defeat my sister in a foot race on a Northern California beach.  Now, Mary might deny it, but it happened. Now if this was a distance race, I’d be done.

 

In my old high school football days, I was one of the fastest linemen. But that’s like being the tastiest turnip or the prettiest bullfrog.

 

In a horror movie with a patient killer, I’d be done for if I didn’t manage to subdue them right away.

 

For you see–I am too slow for “flight” in the “fight or flight” dilemma. Not that I’m a violent person–far from it. I abhor violence in any form.

 

But I startle very easily. Like really easily. Like embarrassingly easily. Like I’m at work writing on the typitty type machine and someone walks up and says my name in a normal voice and I scream/swear/leap into the air startle easily. It is borderline ridiculous. My lovely wife has many such stories and would likely enjoy telling them if you ever want to hear.

 

I say this to lay the groundwork for an incident that happened several Halloweens ago when only one kid was old enough to trick-or-treat.

 

Kid one was dressed as Tinkerbell and I may or may not have been dressed as Captain Hook. My father, also accompanying us, was dressed as a grandfather, which is to say he was wearing normal clothes but still walked with us without shame. Sweet guy.

 

So he was holding kid’s hand as we walked up to a really impressively decorated house. Spooky music. Smoke machine. Graveyard out front. You get the idea.

 

There was a pickup truck parked in the driveway. I didn’t think anything of it at the time.

 

Pops and kid walked toward the porch, and I hung back  a little bit to let them have their moment.

 

As they are walking, I hear a loud growl/grunt sound and feel a hand on the back of my shirt.

 

Remember the whole bit about “startle easily?”

 

Welp–I startled. And I threw an elbow behind me, snarled (who snarls? Admittedly I am a weirdo) and whirled around to see a guy dressed as an 80s horror icon in front of me and I was stepping into his space and my fist was ready to punch him in the head.

 

Thankfully, sense prevailed and he screamed loudly “Don’t hit me!” at the same time and I started apologizing profusely. And he said he hadn’t meant to grab me, and Kid, Pops and I left before either the other Dad or I could embarrass ourselves further.

 

So, when Kid 1 asked why we weren’t heading down a particular street (yes, that particular street) this past Halloween, I mumbled something along the lines of:

 

“Those houses never give out very good candy. Not worth it.”

 

She bought it.

 

Happy Fall my friends!

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