So last Halloween, if you can recall, I posted an entry and aired a radio segment on how to avoid the messiness of the season's tradition- pumpkin carving. This year, however, I've decided that confronting the untidy task is a must! Carving Jack-o-lanterns is a fun project for our kids and we can make delicious snacks out of the remaining seeds when the lantern is lit and the mess is cleaned up. So here, I have put together a few reasons why we should welcome one day of chaos in the kitchen during this Halloween season:
It will be fun to carve a pumpkin with your kids while you tell them the history or story of the Jack-o-lantern. It might also be a fun conversation starter at dinner. The story varies depending on your source but here is the true history of the Jack-o-lantern:
- Jack-o-lanterns originated in Ireland and were carved out of turnips, pears, and gourds. In order to make the Jack-o-lantern glow, lumps of burning coal were placed inside of the hollowed fruit. It was then traditional to place the lantern on the porch or in a window to ward off any unwanted spirits. Some say it also welcomed the spirits of passed loved ones (I like that notion better). By the late 1800s, after the Europeans began settling in America, the tradition of the Jack-o-lantern began to spread, but when people discovered that pumpkins made for easier carving, it became more common to see a large orange lantern carved rather than the smaller turnips, pears, or gourds. Because the pumpkins were larger it was also more practical to use a candle to light the lantern instead of burning coal. As a result of the old Irish tradition, today, we place our festive pumpkins outside to celebrate such a fun part of the year- Halloween!
Everyone likes a good monogram so why not get creative with your pumpkins and carve your family's initials into this year's Jack-o-lantern. Take a look at these sorority pumpkins that inspired my monogramming idea! It's so simple and they will definitely stand out amongst the others' to really impress your trick or treaters!
This should be reason enough for us to want to carve our pumpkins this year! Pumpkin seeds are a tasty treat and so easy to make. Here is a recipe that I found from Martha Stewart's friend, Emeril. Try just one batch of these and you will fall in love!
Ingredients you will need:
1 1/3 cups pumpkin seeds, cleaned and rinsed
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
The directions for baking a variation of pumpkin seeds that you might even take on as a tradition:
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
-Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the pumpkin seeds with the garlic
powder, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper on prepared baking sheet and toss to
-Bake for about 15 minutes, or until seeds are crispy and light golden brown.
-Remove from the oven and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to release any seeds that have
stuck to the baking sheet, and cool completely before serving.
-Roasted seeds will keep in an airtight storage container for up to 1 week.
Cook's Note: recipe may be scaled up proportionately.
Now that we have these three great ideas, I think we should relax about the dreaded mess and replace the thought with excitement! Let's get carving!