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Carving pumpkins is awesome in theory, but it’s kind of a pain in the Halloween mask when you really get down to it. First, you have to choose a perfect pumpkin, which always seems like it’s going to be easy -- there are, like, a million of ´em at the patch! Unfortunately, of that million only a couple will sit properly with their good sides facing out, and it’ll take you at least an hour of searching to suss out one of those two pumpkins. Then, when you get your Halloween gourd home, you have to make a carving plan; it needs to be artistic, sure, but more important, you must remember you’re using a very sharp object as your brush, so to speak, and you won’t be able to execute anything too complicated. After that comes the seed-scooping, which takes a while but is fun, and finally, you’re ready for the actual carving. Estimated project time from start to finish? Around eleven hours. And you only end up with one pumpkin to admire! Save some time, and drive a couple of hours to Ha Ha Tonka State Park (1491 State Road D, Camdenton) for the Ha Ha Haunt. This kid-friendly celebration features 100 jack-o-lanterns lining a trail that leads to a Halloween party complete with games and s’mores! What more could you ask for? The Ha Ha Haunt runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and is free. For more information and directions, call 573-346-2986 or visit
Fri., Oct. 26, 2007

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