First come the newspapers on the table or floor, then the seed-ready bowls, then the various scoopers and carving-type tools, and then?
The pumpkins, of course, which are grandly lined up just ahead of having their stem-topped tops taken off. That's generally how most people set up for a session of create-a-face-on-a-squash fun times, the sort of fun times that mostly only happen over the final week in October.
But jack o'lantern creation isn't as straightforward as simply removing the strings and seeds and plopping your grinning masterpiece on the front steps. Look to the annual Exploding Pumpkin Carving workshop at the Craft & Folk Art Museum, an evening that's all about going beyond how we traditionally festoon our seasonal gourds.
Playful art collective Machine Project is at the helm of the haunted night, which takes place at CAFAM on the Miracle Mile on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
Artists will oversee the "Exploding-Pumpkin-Carving Laboratory," enacting a few "no need to try this at home" experiments (so best do not) to the delight and wonder of attendees.
Might such experiments be both "exciting and ghastly"? That's the promise. Is the "dark night of pumpkin carving" about leveling up on the pre-Halloween pursuit?
It is, and while the evening of pumpkin-scented lab experiments isn't the sort of thing a home carver would take on, seeing creative types think outside the box — er, seed-filled orb — might inspire a committed carver to changing up his or her game.
Maybe you'll put a green light in your jack o'lantern, instead of the usual white, after attending the pumpkin lab? Or you'll stack a few pumpkins or fashion a larger, lumpier pumpkin creature?
In a city eeriely awash in frightastic Halloween events, from haunted houses to dread-packed dramas, a weird night spent watching pumpkin experiments is a spooky, seedy stand-out.
A stand-out that, of course, took guts on the part of the organizers to plan. Guts. To plan. (If one can't make terrible pumpkin jokes in the days leading up to Halloween, when can one, truly?)
Tickets to the lab? They're $40 apiece, and you'll need to reserve ahead of time.