My Little People absolutely LOVE celebrating Halloween, and every year it amazes me just how excited they get for it. Little Lady planned her entire outfit and make up weeks before (she was a skeleton), where as Little B decided against dressing up this year and just opted for a face full of makeup instead (think slightly moldy looking zombie). Our little community of terraced houses is full of families, so Halloween Night becomes one big decorative, dress-up, sugar-filled party time. For three hours we open the door to dozens and dozens of visiting children, and we give away 1.5kg of chocolate. We also spend about half an hour going door to door ourselves, armed with an essential plastic bucket for collecting a substantial haul of sweet stuff.
Truthfully, I could do without the sweet/chocolate gathering part of Halloween, but oh I do so enjoy the decorative bits! And by decorative bits, I mainly mean pumpkins of course.
Last year, pumpkins seemed to be scarce and expensive in the local shops, but this year it was the opposite and they were plentiful and cheap. I picked up a large carving pumpkin for 79 pence from the supermarket, then decided that at that price I may as well do two and went back for a second one.
I also relented and bought some slightly smaller ones for the Little People to have a go with, after they protested it wasn't fair that I got to do all the carving without them. I really can't deny this, it's completely true and I am totally selfish with my pumpkin carving and do it when the Little People are at school. I love it so much, and I refuse to share. Buying in additional pumpkins seemed to be the right kind of compromise I thought.
On the Sunday afternoon (Halloween fell on a Monday this year), we were out in the back yard carving up a storm. Little Lady wanted to do hers entirely by herself, although she did allow me to give her the benefit of my pumpkin carving experience and accepted some help transferring the designs. Hers are the two on the right in the above photo.
Little B cannot stand the feel of pumpkin innards on his hands and so refused to do any of the scooping out, despite me trying to engage him with it. But he was absolutely hopping with excitement at the prospect of being allowed to do some carving, especially when I said he could use my special lino cutting tool. I have a very simple tool which is great for carving shallow lines and making small holes (it's this one on Amazon UK) and he did exceptionally well with it, carefully carving out the lines to make the spider web on his Spiderman pumpkin.
On the Monday when I had the house to myself, I set to work on my own pumpkin creations - this year I went for a "Day of the Dead" theme as I love the intricate designs. The pumpkin on the left is mainly carved with the lino tool so that it's only the eyes which are actually cut out. The design on the right however was very much harder as all of it is cut out, and it was really fiddly to do with just a small kitchen knife and my simple lino tool. Those teeth - a complete nightmare challenge I tell you.
I love how it turned out though, it looked so much better once it got dark and it was all lit up with candles.
The effect of the carved design was magical once it was lit from inside - The Little People were suitably impressed with my carving skillz and yes, I did feel rather proud of my efforts this year.
We have nine stone steps leading up to out front door, perfect for parading our six pumpkins for the visiting hoards of witches/zombies/skeletons/bats/vampires/monsters.
We received a tremendous number of compliments on our pumpkin display, which is very gratifying. Of course, it's all for the children....nothing much in it for me.......