The spookiest night of the year is nearly upon us and pumpkins across Canada await transformation. Many will be carved in the traditional jack-o’-lantern style with two triangles for eyes, a third for a nose and either a goofy toothy grin or a scary sneer. Others will become temporary masterpieces—wicked witches, haunted houses, creepy spiders, flying bats, and perhaps with the recent election, we’ll even see some political pumpkins.
While centuries old, the pumpkin-carving tradition is more popular than ever. Canadians shell out more than $20 million a year on fresh pumpkins. Some pumpkins end up puréed into soups, or baked into pies and muffins, but many light the way for the nearly four million Canadian children who hit the streets in search of loot on October 31st.
How will you carve your pumpkin?
With stencils galore available in stores and online, as well as products such as craft foam, stickers and paint in every colour imaginable, there are so many pumpkin decorating possibilities. You can go traditional, but you don’t have to. Here are a few alternatives:
Large pumpkins make beautiful natural or spooky planters for autumn blooms. Wash any dirt from the pumpkin with soapy water. Rinse and dry. Cover your work surface with newspaper. Use a sharp, straight-edged knife, held at a 45 degree angle, to cut the top from the pumpkin. Scoop out the innards using a large spoon or ice cream scooper. When the pumpkin is cleaned out, try setting the pot of flowers into the pumpkin planter. Trim the opening of the pumpkin until the pot fits easily inside the pumpkin. Remove.
For a spooky planter, like the one pictured above, draw a spider web pattern on the ‘front’ of the pumpkin using a black water-based marker. This pattern is easier than you might think. A spider web starts off similar to the spokes on a bicycle wheel. Next, working from the middle to the outer edges, draw horizontal lines in a circular pattern connecting to each spoke. Use a sharp paring knife or utility knife to v-notch out the web. Do not cut through the pumpkin. Dry the pumpkin with a cloth. Before you paint the word, “WELCOME” onto the web in black acrylic paint, wipe the area with rubbing alcohol. Allow the paint to dry. Set the fall flowers inside the pumpkin. To display, add faux spider webbing to the flowers along with a few fake spiders.