• Donnington Grove

Halloween

Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of All Hallows' Evening) is a spooky celebration observed every year in many countries on October 31 - the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day, also known as All Saints' Day. In 2017, Halloween falls on a Tuesday. Carve the Best Pumpkin The influx of Irish immigrants in the 1840s to North America could not find any turnips to carve, as was tradition, so they used the more readily available pumpkin into which they carved scary faces. By the 1920s pumpkin carving was widespread across America, and Halloween was a big holiday with dressing up and trick-or-treating. Children love to carve pumpkins and over the years our designs have become more ambitious. Here are a few tips: 1 Start with the right pumpkin. It should be fresh with a sturdy stem, no bruises and a flat bottom so it won't roll. A smooth one is easier to carve and if you can find one with a flatter 'face' so much the better. 2 Use proper safety pumpkin carving sets. 3 Cut the lid using the saw angled in towards the stem. That way, the lid won't drop inside the pumpkin when you replace it. 4 Scoop out all the pulp and some of the flesh - an ice cream scoop works brilliantly. 5 You can now download patterns from the internet. These are terrific if you have limited artistic skills. Tape the pattern to the pumpkin (make little cuts around the edge of the pattern if the pumpkin is a bit too round, and that way it will fit better). Then use a pin or small nail to puncture the paper and the outer skin of the pumpkin at intervals of around 1/4 inch / 0.5 cm, or even closer for intricate designs. 6 If it's difficult to see your poked-out pattern, rub a little cornflour or baby powder into the dots. The dots will turn bright white and your design will magically appear. 7 Carve the tiniest sections first. Then carve the areas in the centre of the pattern, and then work outwards. 8 Rather than always cutting all the way through the pumpkin try just removing some of the skin. The yellow flesh underneath will glow when lit up from inside. 9 Spread Vaseline on the cut edges to seal in moisture. If you carve it a few days in advance and it shrivels you can revive it with a face-down soak in cold water. Pumpkin carving is a great activity for all the family. You can make it competitive or have a theme for your pumpkins, or invite friends over for a pumpkin carving party. Competition Local Buzz is running an online competition to find the best pumpkin design. Post your carved pumpkin photo on Facebook and tag @localbuzzmags to enter the competition and the winner will be announced on the 31st Oct. Happy Halloween!