Traditionally Halloween is not something we’ve really gotten excited about in our house. But as our son has now reached the age where such things become the centre of excitement (we blame his playgroup) there was no getting away from it. Every time we went near a supermarket he’d cast glances toward the pumpkins on display and start asking if we could buy one. There was no getting away from it.
So, after initially hoping to get a few groceries we ended up coming away from our local supermarket armed with a couple of pumpkins (despite toddler entreaties to buy more) and zero clue what to do with them.
Of course, the Internet had the answer; there’s an abundance of sites out there with guides like “How to Carve the Perfect Jack O’Lantern” or how to accomplish “A Spooktacular Pumpkin Carving”… all done by experts and looking like it.
Here’s our first tip – if you’ve never carved a pumpkin before DON’T look to Instagram for inspiration; those amazingly crafted works of vegetable sculpture will only make you feel out of your league as you stand there at the table armed with a vegetable knife and bowl for the innards.
So, here’s what you’ll need for a standard pumpkin caving:
1 Pumpkin – the larger the better as carving smaller pumpkins can get tricky
1 Tea light
Sharp Serrated Knife
Small Serrated Knife
Choose a pumpkin – the larger the better as carving the smaller ones can prove tricky with less space for the features – and use a sharp serrated knife to cut off the crown. Try and cut this as straight as you can or, like ours, your finished pumpkin may end up looking like it was given a lobotomy by Stevie Wonder.
Grab a table spoon and get scooping – all the seeds and fibres need removing. Use the spoon to remove some of the pumpkin’s flesh too. TIP: the more flesh you remove the better, the thinner the pumpkins ‘skull’ is the easier the carving will be so get at that flesh like a frenzied piranha.
To be honest there’s not a whole lot of point doing anything with the seeds and flesh other than lining the bin. Given how most of them end up during October I’ve got a sneaking suspicion they’re not harvested for taste.
You’ll possibly need a hoover / broom at this point too should your helper have been as enthusiastic as ours in throwing away from those pumpkin seeds. Oh, and to wash your hands – the inside of a pumpkin is not the most pleasant of aromas.
With your marker pen draw an outline of the face you want on your pumpkin then, with a small serrated knife, cut out the eyes, nose and mouth. Always remember to cut away from you in case the knife slips and to ensure that little ears aren’t paying too much attention when you do….
Place the tea light inside the pumpkin, light it and pop the crown back on your Jack O’Lantern’s head and… voila!
For a first go we were pretty proud of ours. They’re not likely to win any beauty contests but we had a whole lot of fun making them and our little one loved the whole process and, cheesy as it may be, that’s what counts, isn’t it?
We hope you have a lot of fun carving your Jack O’Lantern and have a great Halloween. Don’t forget to let us know – in the comments below or on facebook – how your pumpkin carving goes and subscribe to our newsletter for more great fun activities and places to visit on rainy days.