Saturday, 29 October 2016

Life's Simple Pleasures: Halloween Pumpkin Carving

It's been a while since I wrote about my simple pleasures, so a new post is long overdue. As I've said before, I'm a firm believer that happiness can be found in the little things in life. My personal view is that when we focus our attention on appreciating these small things, we can experience a more peaceful, contented and ultimately happy life.

Today I found myself with the biggest smile on my face as I experienced a rather creative, yet simple and fun pleasure...

Happy Halloween!

Yes it's that time of year when many people choose to have a bit of fun dressing up in ghoulish fancy dress, decking homes and streets with cobwebs, skeletons and all sorts of other spooky decorations, and getting into the spirit of all things halloween (pun intended!) 

I've always enjoyed the theatrical nature of Halloween. I love finding new suitably frightening costumes to wear as well as experimenting with spooky make-up techniques. Then of course there's decorating the house with items from my "Halloween box of goodies" such as my flickering haunted house, bubbling cauldron, and spiders web candelabra. I always find it fun when the local kids stop by trick or treating, and this year we have made sure to have some sweeties ready - it's the least we can do when they've made so much effort with their costumes.

Sticking with the theme of Halloween, while I was out investigating our new local Aldi store today, I decided to purchase a couple of reasonably large pumpkins for the bargain price of 99p each, with a view to having some fun carving them.

I don't seem to find the time these days to allow my creativity to flourish, so this promised to be an opportunity not only to share some fun time with The BF, but also to let my artistic side have a bit of an outing.

There were a lot of seeds to remove and scraping out
 to do before we started the carving!

Late this afternoon, we took some time to have a go at carving our masterpieces. TheBF had never carved a pumpkin before, and I had only carved about one or two basic attempts in years gone by.

First we began by cutting a large hole in the top of the pumpkin, then scraping out any seeds and pumpkin pulp.

There was lots to scrape out                     
Scraping complete!

Next we searched the internet for inspiration of what to carve. TheBF opted for a Pikachu style image, and I found a fairy image to carve. We printed out images to fit the size of our pumpkins and taped them onto the pumpkin so that we could use these as a guide.

Template applied and ready
to commence carving

I used a dressmakers pin to mark out the outline of the fairy (this took sometime and I now have sore fingers from putting the pin in and out so many times!) After this I was able to remove the paper image from the pumpkin and carefully use a knife to cut out the image of the fairy.

Pins for marking the outline                  
Something to keep me going...
well it was Saturday night!

After I'd fully cut-out the image of the fairy, next I wanted to create a "swoosh" of magical stardust trailing behind her. To do this I used a drill with different sizes of drill bits.

While I was doing this I switched the house lights out and popped a small torch inside the pumpkin to see how it was looking.

All in all, I think this mini project took me about 2-3 hours and I was thoroughly engrossed the whole time. In short I loved the process and better still I loved the end result.

A little bit of magical fairy dust

TheBF's pumpkin carving was fabulous too...


So now we're all set for the next couple of evenings, these babies will be taking pride of place outside our front door, facing onto the square where we live.
A pumpkin welcome!

After the pumpkin carving was complete, it was time to decide what to do with all the contents which had been scraped from the insides! A quick internet search suggested that we could turn the many (many!) seeds into a tasty snack. So we decided to give it a go.

It was really easy to do, and I have to say the results are delicious. We put the pumpkin seeds in a colander and rinsed them, then placed them on a baking sheet where we drizzled them with Olive Oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

These went into the oven (at 180 degrees fan assisted) for 16 minutes (anywhere between 10-20 mins is good depending on your oven), after 10 minutes I checked them every 2 minutes to see whether they had browned.

Our roasted pumpkin seeds hot out of the oven
Once out of the oven, I put the seeds onto kitchen towel to pat off any excess oil, then popped them into a serving dish and they were ready to sample. They're a lovely savoury snack, reminding me of a type of bar snack one might be offered!

Removing the excess oil                        
Tasty pumpkin seed snack

So that's my simple pleasure for today - the enjoyment of taking some time to be creative both in carving, and in coming up with a new tasty snack for us to try.

Have you tried carving a pumpkin this year? How did it go? If you have any pictures, let me know using the comments or my contact form and if you're happy for me to do so, I'll be in touch to see if I can list them in a follow up post!


  1. "I always find it fun when the local kids stop by trick or treating."

    I'm very much in the 'humbug' camp when it comes to trick or treating, after my experience of 'kids' (mostly bigger than me!) announced that they had enough sweets so wanted money! After that, I've never opened my door to trick or treaters!

    That said, when work had a pumpkin carving competition last year, I joined in and enjoyed it very much. Alas, I've not been organised this year and didn't get round to buying a pumpkin.

    Love your efforts though, very good! I must find the time to do it next year. I too used up the 'innards', made veggie soup and roasted the seeds for snacks.

    Happy Halloween!

    1. Hey Weenie,

      Wow I'm not surprised you're wary of trick or treaters after that story - how rude of those 'kids'! I'm hoping we'll only be having cute younger kids come calling!

      I didn't do anything with the 'innards' of the pumpkin - it's all a bit stringy and odd looking and it didn't really appeal to me, but I'm glad I managed to use the seeds.

      Hope you have a spooktastic halloween!


  2. I am thoroughly impressed with you and BF's pumpkin carving skills. They look AMAZING. We didn't get a pumpkin this year mainly because our son it too little and life was incredibly busy. But when he gets older I think it will be super fun to do this with him. Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Hi Mustard Seed Money,

      Thanks so much for your kind comments - as you can probably tell from my post I thoroughly enjoyed this chance to do something creative. I must remember to find time to do more arts and crafts as it's very rewarding.

      Happy Halloween!