Pumpkin Carving & Halloween Jack O Lanterns

With Halloween only a day away and a friend of mine selling pumpkins, I thought I would write about pumpkin carving and making a Jack O’ Lantern Pumpkin.

Jack o Lanterns are popular at Halloween (31st October).

Children love to help to make the lantern.  (For Safety – Adults can do the cutting/carving work and the children can scoop out the insides and draw the face on the front!)

1. Choose a pumpkin from your vegetable patch or buy a large pumpkin.
2. Cut a circular hole around the stalk of the pumpkin. (Try to tilt the point of the knife into the centre of the pumpkin as this will help to stop the lid from falling in.)
3. Scoop out the seeds and any loose flesh using a spoon and the knife if needed.
4. Sketch a face onto the pumpkin. Use a biro so any mistakes can be scrubbed off with a scouring pad or fingernail.
5. Carefully cut out the features of the face.
6. Scrape away the flesh on the inside of the face until it is only 1cm thick.
7. Using a knife, mark a circle the size of your candle or tea-light in the centre of the base.
8. Carefully hollow out the marked area with a teaspoon.
9. Place a candle in the hollow, light it and replace the lid of your jack-o’-lantern.

The inner flesh of the pumpkin can be:

* used to make soup.
* boiled to make mashed pumpkin and served with a main meal.
* cut up small, fried or roasted and added to a pasta or rice dish.

The pumpkin seeds can be roasted and eaten as a snack or added to a salad.

On the TV yesterday I saw a chef using different coloured squashes to create different affects. A black squash with it’s orangy flesh looks great!

He also showed how to make meal times more interesting by actually using your pumpkin as the dish for your food! You can carve the pumpkins in the same way as above and then roast the pumpkins in the oven and then instead of placing a candle inside why not pep up your Halloween teatime with some brains – avocado and mayonnaise salad placed inside the pumpkin to look like brains or why not add some bolognaise mince with a tomato pasta sauce to create a bloody affect!

Enjoy your pumpkin carving and lantern making. Let me know how you get on and why not send me a picture of your lantern!

Happy Halloween!