Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's Pumpkin Carving Time!!

Meet HOWARD.  He's my pumpkin.

There are so many wonderful reasons to love this time of year. 
1.    Walking out of the house in the morning, and feeling a little chilly
2.    Walking to your car, and listening to the leaves crunch under your feet
3.    Driving down the street, watching the leaves fall onto your car...
4.    …looking in your rearview mirror and seeing the leaves dance behind you
5.    Wearing boots…
6.    …wrapping scarves around your neck
7.    Festivals
8.    The State Fair
9.    Dressing up in costumes
10. And of course, carving pumpkins!!!!!!!!
Without a doubt, the most recognizable symbol of Halloween is a carved pumpkin…the jack-o-lantern. 
Halloween is a night invested in make-up, masks, gowns, capes, wigs, haunted houses, ringing door bells, “tricks” or “treat’s”…
Like most anti-holiday, un-happy people, it’s a reason for candy makers to indulge in there riches and schemes.  But, even if there wasn’t such a thing as all hollows eve or Halloween…we would come up with some other way to celebrate this time of year…something to look forward to.
“Halloween is actually based on the summer’s end, an ancient Celtic holiday.  It was the end of the Celtic year, starting at sundown on October 31st and going through
to sundown November 1st.  It was a night to honor loved ones that had passed on
 since the veil between their realm and ours is at its thinnest on that night.
Celebrated for centuries by the Celts of old, Witches and many other nature based religions, it is the most magical night of the year.  It is the Witches’ New Year, and the Last Harvest.  Although the religious significance of it has passed for the general public, Halloween is a “magical” night for all.
On this magical night, glowing jack-o-lanterns, carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits.  Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light, later to be replaced by candles.
When European settlers, particularly the Irish, arrived in America, they found the native pumpkin to be larger, easier, and seemed the perfect choice for jack-o-lanterns.  Halloween didn’t really catch on big in this country until the late 1800’s and has been celebrated in so many ways since!”
Choosing your pumpkins…
There is no particular way to choose the right pumpkin for your Halloween festivities.  You just have to know what you want.  There are different colors, shapes, sizes...just know that if it isn't a traditional pumpkin, it might be harder to carve.  But it can be done. 
Around this time of year, you can find pumpkins, of all kinds, just about anywhere.
We picked up HOWARD from the farmer’s market.
Pumpkin carving tools…
Where ever you pick up your pumpkin, there should also be tools to carve them.  I know you can find tool kits at Wal-Mart. Everything you need, including stencils, are packaged together.

Traditional Carving or Carving with Stencils…
Either way you carve your pumpkin – it will be fun! 
Going the traditional way is the way I like to do it.  There’s nothing better than to see a fun loving pumpkin smiling at you from the front porch, when you pull into your drive way at night.
...see Howard...
Carving with a stencil will take more time and more effort as it requires more patience.  But once you’ve finished, it is totally worth it.

The act of actually carving…
So…you’ve chosen your pumpkin…you’ve gathered the tools…you decided to either do a traditional face or to use a stencil…
Now you have to actually carve the pumpkin.  This part is not hard…it is a little difficult for a dainty girl like me…
Step 1: Create a lid…
All you have to do is carve a hole at the top of the pumpkin.  Be sure to cut the hole at an inward angle, so the lid will stay on once you are finished.  If you cut the hole straight down, the lid will fall in on itself…
Step 2:  Remove all the guts…
This is my favorite part.  It is an orange mess…!
It’s as simple as it suggests…just get all of that stuff out of there…
Step 3: Carve the inside of the walls…
The pumpkin needs to be smooth and rid of all its junk.  So to be sure you do this, carve the walls to where all the grim is gone.  Be sure that it’s as smooth as you can get it.  But don’t carve it to where there is no pumpkin left.  Use your best judgment.
Step 4:  Make a face…
Well…you did it.  Now just create the face…or follow the directions in using the stencil.
  Celebrate the season.  Go out and get a pumpkin.  Create a masterpiece, take pictures of your orange adventure, and paste them here!


  1. Aw howard is cute, last year jay and I made Pirate...hehe! This year instead of carving, since we dont have a front porch; we live in a building we made (well i did) pumkins out of fabric. But i still have the spirit :)

  2. Kasie! I’m glad you have the spirit!!!

    Howard is awesome! I will say – he’s fading away. That’s okay though, it was totally worth making. I bet the pirate was fun to make!

    I saw the pictures of the pumpkins you made. How did you do that?

    For a pick-me-up, email