**!! -- HALLOWEEN FUN --!!**


Charles-Clyde & Mavis

©1998 by Anton Uhl

October is a great time of year! You get to start wearing cozy sweaters, play in the rustling piles of colorful autumn leaves and, best of all, it's time to get ready for Halloween!

Probably the next most important thing after making a really cool costume to wear for trick-or-treating is carving the most excellent pumpkin.

The first thing you have to do is go to the great pumpkin patch and select the very best pumpkin that ever existed since the beginning of time!

That was the easy part. Now comes the hard part --- waiting until just before Halloween to actually carve that artfully awesome visage in your succulent squash!
If you carve it too early, the pumpkin will start to dry and curl in on itself like your great-great-great grandfather when he lost his teeth... but, for Halloween, this could be a good thing, too! You never know.

The first thing you may want to do is make a few drawings on paper of the face you want your pumpkin to have.

Next, you will probably want to draw that face right on the pumpkin itself before you start carving. Some people like to carve their pumpkins "on the fly", without any drawings at all... but you never know just what you'll end up with. If you do like to work like this, carve the nose first. It will help you center the face as you carve.

Some of the world's finer artists require a live model for their sketches, but a talented model isn't always that easy to find.

Now, you are ready for the good part... and probably the hard part: actually carving that ghoulish grimace on your pumpkin.

The tools you will need are simple:

  • a pointed short knife to cut with (duh!)
  • a big spoon to scoop out the pumpkin's slimey guts
  • a newspaper to make your mess on
    (or to read if you get bored) comics work best.
  • Note: There are pumpkin carving kits that come with small safety knives. They are available in most Supermarkets or toy stores. They are made especially for the great combination of Kids and Halloween. If you can't find these, here are a few safety tips if you decide to use the tools we show which are probably already in your home:

    Always have an adult with you when handling knives and other possibly dangerous tools.

    Cut by sticking the knife straight in and out of the pumpkin, like you are cutting a dotted line. Never cut by pushing down on the knife, (like when you slice bread). If you need to lengthen a cut a little, make it by gently rocking the knife.

    Straight in and out is still the safest.

    Never cut toward any other person or any of your body parts. If you slip with your knife or saw, you could get hurt.
    Always be sure your pumpkin is held firmly in place while you cut so you won't slip.

    Start by cutting out the lid. Angle your cut toward the center of the pumpkin so the lid won't fall in when you put it back on later.
    Next, scoop out those lovely slimey pumpkin guts. The roasted seeds, lightly saltled, make an excellent snack.
    To seperate the seeds from the stringy stuff, put all your glop in a bowl of cool water and squish it around through your fingers (mmmmm mmmm!). The seeds will float to the top where you can scoop them out into a frying pan or an oven roasting pan.

    Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
  • Stovetop -
    Put seeds in a frying pan without any grease. Continuously stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the seeds start to "pop" and barely turn light brown. Salt to taste. Let cool before serving.
  • Oven -
    Spread seeds in a shallow roasting pan. Place on middle shelf in oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and salt to taste. Let cool before serving.
    Now, carve the face out of your pumpkin following the lines you drew on it. Be sure to take your time and be safe when you are cutting. The best Halloween blood is the fake stuff that comes in the make-up kit for your costume!

    Some folks like to cut a small hole in the back of their pumpkin to help get air to the votive candle inside. If your candle keeps going out, try this. It may just solve the problem.
    With larger pumpkins, you can put the lid back on, even with the candle lit inside.
    With smaller pumpkins, it may be a better idea to leave the lid off of your jack-o-lantern (unless you just love the smell of burnt squash!).

    Mavis & Charles-Clyde say:

    Have fun and be safe
    so everyone will have a