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Students carve a niche

Bats and cats, witches in hats, smiles and frowns, big teeth and eyes aghast — from simple to intricate designs — were seen at the annual pumpkin-carving at Chesapeake Elementary School.

More than 100 parents and students gathered at the school on Thursday night for the annual storytelling and pumpkin carving, part of the Ohio Reads program.

Students were gathered in front of the stage sitting on the floor while Chesapeake School District Superintendent Scott Howard and his wife, Jennifer, told stories about Halloween.

The children sat intently listening as the Howards read the stories.

Scott Howard’s story was “How the Spider Saved Halloween” by Robert Kraus and Jennifer Howard’s story was “Heathcliff’s Halloween” by Suzanne Lord.

“This is part of Ohio Reads and they focus on reading,” Howard said.

At the same time, parents gathered around tables with pumpkins, cleaning the seeds out and drawing designs and patterns on the pumpkins for carving.

Many of the parents had pumpkin-carving kits with patterns and little carving tools. Lynn Hensley, of Chesapeake, was punching a design from one of the kits, while her daughter, Taylor, 9, was listening to the storytellers.

“There’s a lot of different intricate designs,” she said. “Some of them are harder. They’ve got easy, moderate or challenging. This takes a little more time, but I guess it will be pretty in the long run.”

This is the second year of pumpkin carving at the school.

“It’s a very festive time of the year and it’s a good parent-child activity,” said Principal Jack Finch. “This is a great family-night activity.”

The school has several activities throughout the year both academic and family-oriented events.

“Hopefully, one of these years we’ll have snow so we can build Frosty,” Finch said.