Fall is notorious for the onset of pumpkin spice everything in the past decade, but there’s nothing cheesy about old activities like carving pumpkins. It’s a good excuse for wine and friends to come over and make a mess in your kitchen. Plus, sometimes you need to unwind by getting those creative juices flowing.
Pumpkin carving is a surprisingly time-consuming and an unsurprisingly messy activity. And in order to make a great pumpkin carving, the first step is carving out the guts and seeds. Larger pumpkins involve larger knives and more arm-strength. The grocery store had either large or very small pumpkins. I went for a smaller one, but since Michael and Meghan wanted to trick the trick or treaters coming over to their house.
The second step is drawing your design. I went with Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, because what’s creepier than a squirrel-cat who’s begging for a contract? There was also a rockabilly sugar skull, a free-form creepy face, a corporate logo, a spooky eye ball, Bill Cipher of Gravity Falls, a silly face, a barn owl, and the Washington D.C. flag.
The third and final phase was arguably the most difficult: the actual carving of the pumpkins. We were armed with Exact-o knives, kitchen knives, and scraping tools, like the ones you would use for pottery. For my design, I first went over the outline of my character and the “Contract?” to make sure I got the shape right. But then, I had to stop and think about what it would look like once we put in the votive candles. For mine, I went with poking the eyes out and really carved out the outlines of mine so that it was really apparent what mine was.
As you can see, some went down the shading route while others carved out pieces of pumpkin. It was my first time carving pumpkins and, let me tell you, it is totally worth it. It’s pretty therapeutic, but then again all creative pursuits are. So, before it’s officially Christmas time, get some friends, some pumpkins, and have a fun afternoon making pumpkin creations more creative than lattes.
Naturally, this activity results in pounds and pounds of pumpkin seeds and guts. One possible snack food to make is roasting the seeds. My favorite recipe includes maple syrup and cayenne pepper, mixed with some olive oil in order to help the roasting along. I am always terrified of adding too much cayenne and making the seeds inedible. Yet, for this many, I would recommend putting in a proper tablespoon or two as opposed to just a tiny sprinkling.
The seeds turned out to be crunchy and very maple-syrupy. Which, to me, is never a bad thing. I stored a bunch in a mason jar when I made them last year after buying a too-big pumpkin, but with nine people, they were gone instantly.
The major downside, which I have not yet been able to work around was the fact that the edges get all kind of scorched while the middle remains perfect. That still yields many perfectly edible seeds.
Plaid patterns seem to be a fall style staple, and shorts with tights is just the most comfortable combination. It keeps you warm and it makes you look pretty chic. I also tied my hair out of my face to avoid getting pumpkin gunk in it.