How to Host a Pumpkin Carving Party

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Fall is probably my favorite season…don’t tell summer. I just can’t help myself when it comes to crisp cool mornings, delicious pumpkin spice everything, football games, scarves, soft Patagonia vests, brown boots and more. One of our favorite autumn family traditions is pumpkin picking. We have gone annually since my girls were itty bitty. Even the year that our youngest was 4 weeks old, we did not skip dressing them up in homemade pumpkin shirts to trek through hundreds of orange gourds. I have fond memories of nursing on a hay bale.

But don’t be fooled that my love affair with all things autumn began post mommy when those memory making hormones and FOMO triggers come out. Nope! I have always had a sweet spot for all things pumkin’. So ten years ago pre-babies and marriage we hosted our first annual pumpkin carving party. See my fabulous husband was not raised with same passion for carving Jack-o-Lanterns as I was, so I had to teach him the ways. Because we love a good party we invited over our friends and family to share in the creation of the spooky masterpieces. And there you have it, a tradition was born, and now we annually host this festive affair. So in order to host your own fabulous Pumpkin Carving Party follow these steps, tricks and tips.pumpkins

1. No experience needed

My family takes all holidays pretty seriously. There was no decorating our pumpkins with stickers or glitter for safety purposes when we were tots. It was always here, yield this sharp object and learn to carve. My father would create elaborate goblin faces and ghoulish masterworks, and this was way before Halloween Wars or those step by step guides you can buy at CVS. But here is the thing, we welcome all skill levels. I love to print out design inspirations and Pinterest has tons of fun and simple ways to create amazing works of art. My husband still prefers the CVS pumpkin guidebooks.pumpkin carving

2. BYOP aka Bring your Own Pumpkin

Pumpkins are expensive and heavy, so our rule is that everyone has to provide their pumpkin. As hosts we provide all the carving paraphernalia. We have collected quite the assortment of tools over the past couple of years. And there is no need to purchase special pumpkin tools, however, those can be quite handy especially for littler hands. In addition to the orange plastic knives that come in the pumpkin kits I also always put out a melon baller, some sharp kitchen knives (for adults only), pencils, sharpies, toothpicks, and long spoons (for scooping out the innards).

3. Seeds

One of the main reasons I love hosting a pumpkin carving party is the plethora of seeds I can obtain. Those little gems are tasty and delicious so don’t be throwing them in the compost pile just yet. I put out large bowls for seed collection stations. Kids love this part because you get all messy from scooping out the insides. After your party you should have a large bowl or two of pumpkin seeds. Bring those babies inside and thoroughly wash off all the pumpkin guts in a colander. Then I mix the seeds with butter, oil, salt, pepper and honey. I have no official quantities because I am Italian and we just go by feel. Thoroughly coat the seeds with your tasty salty sweet concoction and spread them in an even layer on a rimmed foiled baking sheet. Roast the seeds for an hour or two in a low 250-degree oven, BUT watch those suckers because they can turn from golden brown perfection to black carbon yuck in two hot seconds.pumpkin seeds

4. Food and Bevies

What is a party without some yummy accouterments? Because you are going to be busy carving (or trying to keep your toddler away from the knives) the name of the game is keep it simple. We have dined on everything from an already prepped lasagna to takeout pizza. I also like to keep it classy with disposable paper goods. My husband is in charge of making sure we have a large selection of pumpkin flavored adult beverages as well.

5. Teal Pumpkin

This is a cause near and dear to our heart and our girls have loved making the Teal pumpkin project part of our tradition. Last year, we painted ours while the littlest was napping because she has a tendency to try to eat paint or paint herself. However, our older daughter LOVED painting the pumpkin teal to be prominently displayed with our Jack-o-Lanterns on Halloween night. She also enjoyed picking out our Halloween tattoos that we purchased on Amazon that we offered to Trick-o-Treaters.teal pumpkins

6. Bring it OUTDOORS

Let’s just say I have a slight obsession for keeping our house on the mess free side. That being said we have always opted to keep our pumpkin parties outside. Now if you are one of those cool families that embraces orange guts smashed into your carpet, by all means go ahead. I am knocking on wood here, but we have truly lucked out with good weather for our pumpkin party. Even a freak Halloween snowstorm and superstorm Sandy did not put a damper on our festive activities, and both years we got our carving in before the mass amounts of precipitation and wind. We like to host our pumpkin party on the back deck with lots of and plastic tablecloths covering the tables. You can even bring the TV outside so that you can enjoy football. Just imagine a cool autumn breeze, your fantasy team just scored 20 points, a tasty pumpkin bevy in one hand and a pumpkin carving tool in the other; it is fall perfection.pumpkin carving party

So what are you waiting for…pick a date (we seriously picked ours in August because the October calendar fills up faster than our Holiday party rotation), and text your BFFs and neighbors to bring over their pumpkins and join in the fun of a Pumpkin Carving Party!

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Nikki has called wonderful Fairfield County her home, her entire life. Growing up on a campus of a private school in Greenwich, CT Nikki swore to her educator parents that she would never be a teacher. Well life has a way of repeating itself and now Nikki and her amazingly supportive husband are happily working at a different independent school in Greenwich. A recovering “type a” perfectionist she is learning to let go of her color coding, alphabetizing ways and embrace the mess. Helping her enjoy life’s everyday messes are her two precocious girls Sofie (11/15/11) and Keira (9/7/13). Nikki loves all things mommy cliché including but not limited to walks on the beach, running, reality TV, organizing closets, wine, chocolate and having her kids help her out in the kitchen.

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