Halloween Pumpkin-Carving Party
Easy menu ideas and practical tips for an all-ages pumpkin party.
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- Let each guest choose a pumpkin and bring it to the table.
- Ask adults to cut tops of pumpkins with sharp knives. Make holes big enough for a hand to reach inside. Angle cuts inward so that top of pumpkin won't fall in.
- Have younger kids clean out seeds with large spoons, ice cream scoops, or soup ladles.
- Use water-based markers to experiment with jack-o'-lantern faces. Outline the design in permanent marker before carving or painting.
- Younger kids can paint or mark pumpkins with markers or stickers. Older kids can use plastic carving tools or knives to cut out designs.
- Test votive lights. Light candle and put lid on pumpkin. If the light goes out, make some wider cuts in pumpkin to allow better air flow.
- Let kids toss store-bought pumpkin seeds with vegetable oil and salt; roast at 350 degrees F until crunchy. (Freshly scraped-out seeds need to be picked through and cleaned, plus air-dried, before roasting.)
Make it easy on yourself and whip up simple, crowd-pleasing menu of turkey chili and cornbread. And for dessert? Something pumpkin, of course!
The night before:
- Pick up assorted pumpkins for carving. Avoid broken stems or bruises, as they can cause faster spoilage.
- Choose pumpkins that are at least 9-10 inches high so there is adequate room for a votive candle to burn safely.
- Shop for carving and painting supplies: permanent markets, water-based markers, tempera paints, small paintbrushes, plastic carving tools, stickers, sponges and glass votives with candles.
- Purchase turkey, cornbread, cider, and dessert ingredients.
- Bake dessert--cake or cookies. Cover and refrigerate.
- Cook chili, let cool, and store in the fridge. It's better the next day!
- Set up a chili station near the stove. Use a fall-colored placemat and stack dinner plates, napkins and utensils on top.
- Print out pumpkin-carving templates from internet Halloween sites or draw your own on white paper so guests have some ideas about what to carve.
- Create a mini patch where guests can pick their own.
- Set up a carving table. Cover it with several layers of newspaper taped into place with masking tape. If you're indoors, protect the floor, too.
- Lay out markers, stickers, paints, cutting tools and any large spoons, ladles or ice cream scoops you can find on table.
- Fill a few glasses or empty yogurt cups with water and set out for painters. Set out sponges so kids can wipe off mistakes.
- Bake cornbread. Cool, slice, and wrap.
- Assemble salad. Cover and chill.
- Reheat chili. Cover and keep warm--or transfer to a slow cooker set on the low setting.
- Heat cider in slow cooker.