A few more days and Halloween will be here. By now you likely have costumes picked out, recipes set aside, candy stored out of sight and have checked your area’s weather report for October 31. But have you carved your pumpkin yet? Have you picked out a pumpkin carving pattern?

Did you know that pumpkins are actually a fruit? They have been grown in North America for over 5000 years and were originally discovered by a Frenchman, who called them “gros melons”, which translated into pompion’s and eventually evolved into “pumpkin”.
Currently Guinness book of records list the largest pumpkin ever grown as being 1,725 pounds!

When the children were younger we carved Jack-o-Lanterns every year. The work involved was so tedious and took so long that I always dreaded Halloween. Then I discovered a lot of newspaper spread over the kitchen table, some good carving tools or a kitchen saw, few sharp knives and very large spoon could really save the day!

First, you need a ripe and sturdy pumpkin. Tap a few until you hear a hollow sound…don’t buy any bruised or soft ones!
Cover your table with lots of newspaper! Take a marker and draw a lid around the top…be sure to include at least one tab so you can replace the lid firmly if desired.
Use a kitchen saw or large, sharp serrated knife to cut the lid off. Scoop out all the seeds and strings ( separate the seeds if you plan on roasting them ).

Next, carefully scrape out the pumpkin pulp…leaving at least 1/2 to an inch thickness on the side you want to carve. I have found the best and happiest thing to do is let the children draw the face they want carved on the pumpkin. Set the pulp aside and refrigerate to use later in your favorite pumpkin recipes.

I have found that a very sharp paring knife works well for me, but use the size you’re comfortable with. Have patience and start carving….slow is the operative word here!
You should eventually end up with a *masterpiece* ( or dissolve in tears with your child when they change their mind when they’re done ).

Pumpkin carving really is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your child and hopefully will bring you much enjoyment.

Pumpkin carving patterns are readily available around the internet and in most stores if you don’t have the time to do an original.
For ideas and templates, please visit here and here
Happy Halloween !