Friday 30 October 2015

It's All About Pumpkin Carving for The Perfect Halloween

Where oh where have pumpkins been all my life? I only carved one for the first time in four decades last year and only then because the pumpkins and all the tools/info required to carve them were provided for me.

It was our best Halloween yet, very hot at 23 degrees and I uploaded a slideshow of our amazing day out here:

Well this year, once again, my pumpkin and the carving of it came free of charge, this time via an art work shop at Aaron's school. Except this year we even got a battery operated candle* with it AND the chance to make a pumpkin mask to go with it. *Everyone is conscious of Halloween and fire risks this year, with all of the high profile information about flame retardent costumes (and the lack of them).
I'm so proud of our carved pumpkin and it looks great illuminated in the dark. Even better than our creation from last year. The reason this year's is so much better is because school provided templates. So, I taped the template to the pumpkin and cut through the paper, directly into the pumpkin, following the outline of the design I'd chosen.

When it's all singing all dancing tomorrow, I'll grab a pic to add to this post.

And.... here it is our 2015 illuminated pumpkin below. Perfect large Sainsbury's one, with two candles inside. Daddy set it up outside the front door for us, so that people would know that we're a Trick or Treating friendly house. Shortly after 17:30 (as soon as it got dark) they started arriving and they were thick and fast until the last one at about 20:22. We only had one ten minute break to sit on the sofa - apart from that our door knockers were so frequent we stayed right by the door, sometimes with it opened sometimes closed.
If you too want to carve a pumpkin and have not done so already then there are some brilliant bingo pumpkin templates to download here. Carving, using a stencil, is so much easier and you get a lovely accurate, symmetrical cut.

A leading UK bingo company commissioned  a leading artist - Sand in Your Eye - to carve that selection of bingo inspired pumpkins along with the easy-to-use Halloween themed stencils.

Pumpkin carving is the easiest way to get involved in Halloween, but we will of COURSE be trick or treating too! But, having done the inside, and the outside versions, we're opting for inside. 2013 we walked the streets door knocking for 90 minutes with Aaron's cousins. I loved it and we collected LOADS of sweets - I was AMAZED by the neighbourhood's generosity and how they got right into the spirit of things - it was surprisingly heart warming actually. 2014, last year, we opted to stay in and answer the door, gifting the trick or treats rather than gathering them (as we'd already spent the whole day celebrating Halloween at the farm, as per the video above). Being that I am nearly 28 weeks pregnant and very large, I can't face the thought of 90 minutes on my feet in the dark, so we'll be doing last year's way again. We still dress up, just that we are answering the door rather than knocking on it and it works really well. Aaron LOVES dishing out the sweets and the kids love having a warm response when they knock at the door.

We're all organised for Halloween. We have a Halloween doorbell that lights up and makes sounds, that we bought weeks ago as a special buy in Aldi. We have our carved pumpkin. We have costumes - mine from last year EVEN fits over my bump. We have a Halloween paper lantern that we made with the presenter of Art Attack AND we bought all of the sweets today - lots of them!!!! You can see our paper lantern and my costume in this blog post. Oh and we already did some Halloween baking thanks to Collective Bias.

This was us last year :-)
Halloween 2014
According to Mintel, retail sales of Halloween products in the UK are expected to reach £240m this year, a 4% growth from last year’s £230m. Whether you’re demonstrating your own artist flare or nurturing your children’s, pumpkins are one of the easiest ways to partake in the Halloween spirit.

Us, Halloween 2015, with bump included:
Halloween 2015

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