Our First Pumpkin Carving Adventure…

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
Table Spoon
Sharp Serrated Knife
Small Serrated Knife

Step One

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.

Step Two

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.

Step Three

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….

Step Four

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.

Look Up programme in Hull : BLEACHED by Tania Kovats

Tania Kovats Bleached

Did you know Hull is the UK City of Culture 2017? To mark the occasion, The Deep are co-commissioning a series of artworks around the city in partnership with Hull 2017.

Look Up is a year-long programme of temporary artworks made for the city’s public spaces and places. Each piece is unique and will take place within different seasons of the Hull 2017 programme. All have taken as their inspiration and starting point the work, people and location of The Deep.

Tania Kovats is one of the artists participating in this programme. Tania is a British artist who makes sculpture, installation, drawings and time-based works that explore our understanding and experience of landscape and the role of landscape in the formation of identity. Some of her works  included Tree, a permanent installation for the Natural History Museum; and Rivers where she collected the water from one hundred rivers around the UK, housing her water collection in a boat house in Scotland. Her current work involves a network of people globally collecting water from all the world’s seas.

For Look-Up, Tania  is creating a new large scale sculptural work called ‘BLEACHED‘. Kovats’ response to both the beauty of coral and its fragile position in the world’s ecosystem, BLEACHED is also made of material from one of the The Deep’s own exhibits.  The refurbishment of the Lagoon exhibit coincided with the development of this work, and The Deep was able to save a large quantity of modal (artificial) coral for Tania to work with.

Other works, linked to themes of the ocean life and environment will accompany BLEACHED. At the C4Di exhibition space there are new drawings on canvas, Sea Mark, and existing sculptures of ocean bowls, Indian Pacific and Atlantic while Tania’s barnacle sculpture Colony, made in response to her residency in the Galapagos Islands, will show in public areas of The Deep along with a series of evaporation ink drawings.

The Deep is one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world. Home to over 5000 animals including magnificent sharks, rays, Europe’s only pair of Green sawfish and many more. Not forgetting an array of bugs, snakes and colony of Gentoo penguins! So if you’re in Hull or travelling to Hull this summer make sure to give The Deep a try – there’s loads of fun for both adults and children.

Check-out the Deep’s listing in our directory and follow us on our Facebook page or Instagram for more information about great rainy day fun activity ideas for children!