carve a pumpkin with candle in mouth

As we approach the end of October, we’re one step closer to all things bats, ghouls, ghosts and pumpkins. Halloween is soon upon us, so we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to carving the mighty pumpkin.

First things first, choosing the right pumpkin couldn’t be more important. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and hundreds of varieties, so get to grips with everything there is to know about pumkpins and squashes first.

Once you’ve chosen your pumpkin it’s time to get stuck in and create the creepiest jack-o’-lantern the world’s ever seen…

  1. Place the pumpkin on a tea towel so it doesn’t slip, then carefully cut the crown off the pumpkin.pumpkin2
  2. Use a large metal serving spoon to scoop out the seeds, fibres and flesh of the pumpkin. Be sure to save the insides for later as they’ll come in handy to make a lovely soup or sweet treat.pumpkin3
  3. With a marker pen, draw an outline of a face on the pumpkin.
  4. Use a small knife to cut out the eyes, nose and mouth. A smaller knife allows better precision and control, but always cut away from you in case the knife slips.
  5. Pop a tealight (or two) inside the pumpkin, light it and replace the crown.
  6. Stand back and enjoy your creepy creation.

Now that your Halloween centrepiece is firmly in the limelight, let’s revisit that leftover pumpkin flesh and transform it into something tasty…

Pumpkin is a wonderful source of vitamin C, which our bodies need for loads of different reasons including immune health, teeth and gum health and also for cell protection. If you’re planning on cooking with your hollowed-out pumpkin afterwards, make sure you buy one that’s intended for eating rather than a cheaper ‘carving pumpkin’ that’s purely for decorative purposes. It’s best to carve the pumpkin the day before Halloween, and use it the day after so it doesn’t go mouldy, and don’t forget to clean it well and make sure there’s no candle wax remaining. 

Why not celebrate the humble pumpkin with something a little different to the classic pie? These delectable spiced pumpkin and coffee tarts are a lovely autumnal alternative. Or, if you’re after something more savoury, try using the flesh in this glorious roasted pumpkin soup or a gorgeous gluten-free pumpkin pie:

Don’t discard the seeds after you’ve carved your pumpkin! You’re just a few steps away from discovering a delicious snack that’s also brilliant scattered over seasonal soups.

Pumpkin seeds are nutrient dense and particularly high in phosphorus, a mineral we need to keep our bones and teeth strong and healthy. They’re also rich in copper, that helps to keep our nervous systems healthy, as well as keep our hair strong and to transport iron in the body; another nutrient these wonderful seeds are high in – double win!

Learn how to roast pumpkin seeds with our easy-to-follow step-by-step guide.

So, get stuck in and have a go at carving a perfectly petrifying pumpkin this Halloween!