In times of autumn and gourd-picking there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our nation’s call: the Navy SEAL. As you prepare to enter the field of battle — also known as a pumpkin patch — with a mission to carve the best Jack o’lantern the porch has ever known, consider these tips from the silent professionals.

Get a good night’s sleep

You don’t want to be battle-weary while on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin. Stay frosty.

Practice combat breathing

Waft in the smell of the farm’s apple cider and cinnamon doughnuts for four seconds, then release for four seconds. This will give you strength, courage, and clarity for the mission ahead.

Watch your six

You never know if a stealthy family will sneak up from behind and snake the most desirable orange gourd. Deploy your spouse and kids to keep 360 degrees of eyes on the field. Even better, put the smallest child on your shoulders so you have a bird’s eye view, too.

Secure the perimeter

Do a full walk-through of the pumpkin patch. Survey each of its rows. You don’t want to miss out on the best squash by being too hasty. This process takes time and precision.

Visualize success

See the pumpkin, be the pumpkin, buy the pumpkin.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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