Pumpkin was cheap in those days, but even if it was free, I would not have simply used the entire gourd for a single night of fun. Instead I cut the pumpkin in half from stem to blossom end and had two pumpkin opportunities for carving. With three kids, only two pumpkins were used for Jack O Lanterns and the other unused half was for pie or muffins or whatever was produced. My daughter did not like pumpkin or squash cooked, so it was not served in over abundance, yet still, on occasion it was on the menu as a vegetable.
The kids got their half pumpkin and they had to hollow it out and then carve the face. In order to make a Jack O Lantern wtih a candle inside, tin foil was used as the back of the pumpkin and when sat on the stairs propped up on the stair behind, they looked entirely wonderful in the night, with the ghoulish faces grinning in the night.
Now, years later, the days of having so little are only a memory. Times were never really tough enough to be sad. There was always enough food and incidentals that were not necessary were simply gone without. Then, I was grateful I was able to be at home with the children to watch them grow, to see them take their first steps, to dry their tears and share their laughter. That was more important to me than the almighty dollar and though I could have gone to work and abandoned them, I chose to stay home and be their mother. It was a good choice, no, it was the only choice. For had I gone to work I would have missed the formative years, the most delightful smiles, the toothless grins and the carving of half a pumpkin. And, I would never have traded all that for a zillion dollars, not one bit!