Holiday Entertaining: Hosting A Pumpkin Carving Party

Looking for a fun fall activity? Here are some tips and ideas for hosting a Halloween pumpkin carving party at home, including how to prepare and carve a pumpkin.

Looking for a fun filled activity to do in the fall? Why not host a Halloween pumpkin carving party? It's a fun way to get together with your family and friends to celebrate the fall season.

Getting Started

Begin by planning your guest list. You will want to have a good idea of how many people will be attending so you can be sure to have enough pumpkins on hand for everyone. Send out pumpkin-shaped invitations with details of the party and include a telephone number or email address that your guests can RSVP to.

Getting the Pumpkins

-- Ideally, if you have the space in your yard for a garden, you can try growing your own pumpkins. Depending on where you live, the best time to plant pumpkin seeds is from late April to late June.

-- If planting your own pumpkin patch is not an option, go to produce stands to try to get a deal on buying pumpkins in bulk. Pumpkins can be expensive, especially large ones, so scout round for the best prices.Try to get pumpkins in a variety of sizes. If young children will be attending your party, they will do much better with a small pumpkin. A creative adult will probably love carving a large pumpkin.

-- You can also host a "BYOP" party-- that is, ask your guests to each bring their own pumpkins.

Tools of the Trade

You can purchase pumpkin carving tools at discount stores or Halloween shops.You can also use items from around your house-- small cutting tools from your tool shed and kitchen utensils work well. If young children will be attending your party you will want to have some safe tools for them to work with.A young child can assist you with scooping the flesh out of the pumpkin, while you may have to carve the design on their pumpkin for them.

Preparing to Carve the Pumpkins

-- It is best to work outside if weather permits, as pumpkin carving can get quite messy.

-- Make sure to wash all of the pumpkins to remove any dirt and residue from them. Allow time for the pumpkins to dry before you begin carving.

--Cut the top off of the pumpkins and scoop out all of the flesh and seeds. Put the seeds aside-- they can be toasted later for a delicious and healthy snack.

-- Next, draw a design on the pumpkin with a magic marker.You can find some wonderful pumpkin carving templates online or you can have your guests draw their design on the pumpkins freestyle. If you choose to use a template, tape it to the pumpkin so you can use it as a guide when carving.

-- Once everyone has completed their design ideas, they can begin carving. Make certain that all young children are closely supervised and that sharp carving tools aren't accessible to them.

-- When all of the pumpkins are carved, put a small votive candle inside each one and light the pumpkins at dusk.The glowing pumpkins will look fantastic as the sun goes down.

Other Ideas:

-- For fun, you can award prizes for the scariest pumpkin, most creative pumpkin, silliest pumpkin, etc.

-- Serve pumpkin-themed snacks during your party. Bake some pumpkin bread and check your local farmer's market or grocery store for pumpkin butter. Try making a pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake, and if it's a chilly day make a meal of pumpkin soup.

-- Finally, be sure to take a digital photo of all of your guests with their pumpkins and email or mail it to everyone after the party. It will serve as a great memento for a day that you will all remember.

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