The Great Pumpkin: Halloween Family Traditions Centered Around the Search for the Perfect Pumpkin, Carving and Munching
Halloween offers a unique set of creative opportunities for my family, all centered around the Great Pumpkin. The whole experience brings out a childlike sense of wonder.
Heading out to the same enormous pumpkin farm each year is my favorite Halloween tradition. They offer acres of pick your own pumpkins (as well as the already picked), but we love hunting for the perfect pumpkin. Shouting to one another to check out this one or that, is a lot of fun. Each member of the family chooses their own. Whatever they choose they have to carry, so choose wisely, we say!
Then, after hiking back to the car we take the time to go through their corn maze. It’s easy to get lost, so we instituted a mandatory buddy policy, pairing up older children with younger and splitting the adults up to be fair.
My son and I were the first ones through last year…and felt the glory of victory!
This family farm also sells corn stalks, mums and cider which we take advantage of, and check out their petting farm area. They also sell straw bales, which one year I thought would be a nice addition to our front porch fall scene, not realizing the havoc straw would cause my hay fever vexed son. Yikes!
Once home, we decorate the front porch with our corn stalks, pumpkins and mums and enjoy our cider…warmed up on the stove with cinnamon if it’s chilly out.
Later, we choose a night to devote to pumpkin carving. Lay out plastic tablecloths on and under the dining room table, pull out knives, bowls and ice cream scoopers….they are the best tools for scooping out all the pumpkin guts. Carving pumpkins is messy fun. We play Halloween music in the background to complete the mood. The Monster Mash CD is a popular choice.
After scooping out all the seeds, rinse them off and let dry on paper towels. Toss with about a tablespoon of oil and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, tossing every 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven salt and enjoy!
Before setting out your pumpkins on the porch, it’s a good idea to spread petroleum jelly along all the cut edges to keep it from drying out and if you spray with a little bleach and water solution the mold and insects will stay away.
My favorite tip is to sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice to the underside of the lid. When it’s lit, the pumpkin will release a wonderful seasonal scent.
Now set out the pumpkins and admire your handiwork and enjoy your pumpkin seeds. Yum!