With Halloween lurking mischievously around the darkened corner, we've started to take a look at pumpkins. These giant vegetables (or are they fruits? Oh darn, it's the old tomato argument again..) are a traditional part of the Halloween celebrations, and carving them is quite an art. Our family always grabs a handful of pumpkins, and we usually just cut out the traditional zigzag smile and triangle eyes, popping a candle inside. Last year we determined to make pumpkin pie, but after scraping out the insides of four very large pumpkins we had enough actual 'meat' to fill a coffee mug. They really are nature's waste of space, but at least they can give children a lot of fun. We've been looking around for some of the best and most original or appealing pumpkin ideas, and have chosen our six favourites. One of the reasons we chose these six is not necessarily because of their artistic merit, although several of them are extremely well done, but because, with a little care and ingenuity, most of us could have a reasonable bash at actually reproducing these designs. So here we go, with our countdown of six ghoulish Halloween pumpkins which, together, might even be enough for a single slice of pie.
One of the reasons we like this one is that it turns pumpkin carving on its side, using the top of the pumpkin as the face. By doing this the stalk or stem or the pumpkin becomes a great nose, and then the eyes and teeth are carved into the surface but don't actually break through. You obviously can't stick a candle in this one, but that probably means it will last longer. With a bit of careful effort it might well be possible to take inspiration from this and have a go yourself.
We think that's an orange wedged in between this pumpkin's teeth, and that's quite a good idea. The horns look like they're made from two uncut pumpkin stems, and if you grow your own this is fine, but of course most shops have the stems cut much too short for this. Still, by cutting out dents and shoving other items, such as oranges or courgettes, into those spaces you can create some great ideas.
Yuck! This is such a simple idea, but works so well. Just keep the innards of your pumpkin, cut out the face, and then delicately lay the innards back into place. We first saw this idea a few years ago, but it's surprising how few people try it. Perhaps that's because it's so revolting, but we are quite sure children will just love it, for that very reason!
Another simple idea, but so cool. Once you've carved the face of your pumpkin out, just grab an old pair of trousers and either cut off one leg, or simply roll up the other leg and stick it inside the pumpkin out of sight. A bit of ketchup or red paint for the blood, and you have a convincing dinner. Use balled up newspapers to stuff the trouser leg and sock to make it look more realistic.
This really does make a pumpkin look appetising! The basic idea is, like so many of them, really simple. Just slice your pumpkin in half. Then by stuffing some items inside you can create your convincing burger. The tomato slices could be achieved by using one of those large Dutch tomatoes, or you could use children's plastic food if you wanted the display to last longer. The sesame seeds on top are, we think, almonds.
Don't like getting your hands all mucky? Don't like the smell of cooking pumpkin as your candle chars the inside? This Lego pumpkin could be the answer! Just grab a handful of orange Lego bricks and a couple of green, and you're ready to cackle wildly with the best of them! If you plan on creating a pumpkin display this Halloween, do please send us your photos - we love to see your creations, and we'll feature the best ones here for everyone to enjoy!