Nothing announces the start of the Halloween season better than the appearance on neighborhood doorsteps and lawns of the famous Halloween pumpkins. The annual spookfest may take place for one night only, but the fun of pumpkin carving for jack-o’-lanterns and the preparation of all the ‘haunted house’ trimmings make Halloween a rival for Christmas as a decorating extravaganza.
The rich orange pumpkin is a great adornment for any garden or yard and complements the brilliant fall colors of the turning leaves. And while the larger types of pumpkin are suitable for carving, don’t forget the smaller edible varieties too: there are many delicious pumpkin recipes that use the flesh of this festive fruit. Pumpkin pie is a staple autumn dish (especially at Thanksgiving, of course) but there are also many delectable Halloween recipes for pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread and various cakes.
If you’re going to tackle pumpkin carving at home, you can find specialist tools on the market to help you cut shapes and scoop out the interior of the fruit. Always be aware of safety considerations when using sharp tools and keep the actual cutting for the adults in the household; let the children have their fun decorating the pumpkin faces afterwards.
Pumpkins are sturdy and relatively durable decorations when treated carefully but will rot over time, just like any other vegetable. You can help to prolong the decorative life of your ghoulish gourds by taking some simple steps when you prepare them. Don’t try to start carving too early, as a hollowed out pumpkin will tend to dry out more quickly and go moldy. Keeping the pumpkin in a cool and shady area can also help to slow down natural decomposition.
Do you want a fantastical design for your pumpkin face? Don’t try making anything too ambitious if this is your first attempt at pumpkin carving. The eerie flickering lights of the traditional jack-o’-lantern are quite effective with a simple pattern. But if you want something a bit more original, look online for stencils or templates that you can download and print. If you attach the design to the pumpkin with tape, you can trace the face pattern onto the surface with a marker. And if you want your pumpkin face to last as long as possible, you might even consider not carving it at all! You can decorate the surface of your fruit with painted effects that can be far more elaborate and whimsical than you might be able to achieve with a carved design.