When October rolls around, one of the things I look forward to the most is my sister's annual Pumpkin Carving Party. We always have at least 20-25 participants in the carving contest, and lots more people just socializing, drinking wine and watching the contestants. She fills the whole house with decorations collected over the years. Some people wear costumes, some wear Halloween t-shirts, and some just come as they are.
It's not a really expensive event to plan, because everyone brings a dish for the buffet, and a pumpkin to carve. If you can't find a pumpkin you like, try a turnip, beet or butternut squash. Those all work well, and have a unique look. The hostess provides drinks, more food, and prizes for the contest winners. We pick up prizes inexpensively at the after-Halloween sales for the next year.
Usually people arrive in mid-afternoon, hang out, talk and eat for a couple of hours, then the carving begins. We have a binder of patterns that we have saved and photocopied over the years for those who don't know what they want to carve, but most people just free-hand a design with a permanent marker. We stock up on those carving kits with the tools after the holiday every year, so we have plenty on hand. We also stock up on those little votive candles at the end of the season. When it starts to get dark, we line all the pumpkins up, light candles inside each one, and draft some party-goers who did not carve to be impartial judges. We have categories like cutest, spookiest, most original, most traditional, scariest, friendliest, etc. We make sure all the small children win a prize so no one feels left out. We always try to have a variety of prizes for different age groups. At the end of the night, everyone takes their pumpkin home to display.
Host a Pumpkin Carving Party this year. You, your family and friends will all have a great time, guaranteed! Don't forget to save and roast the seeds in the oven. Salt lightly for a tasty, inexpensive and healthy snack!