I love autumn, and I really love Halloween. It’s the perfect excuse to wrap up warm, put the heating on, eat pumpkin spice everything; and it’s also a great excuse for a party. October is also my birthday month, so whenever I think of Halloween I think of childhood birthday parties which is probably why I love it so much. (Although, when you think about it, celebrating spiders and skeletons and ghosts etc is a bit weird.)
I love the tradition of pumpkin carving too, so this year I decided to attempt something a bit prettier than usual and this is my attempt – a shooting star pumpkin. I took a few shortcuts to this so here’s my cheat’s guide to pumpkin carving.
The Secret Weapon… The one thing you need to know about pumpkin carving is that it takes a long time and is really fiddly. So this year I had the genius (I think) idea of using cookie cutters to do the hard work for me. Rather than fiddling around with a sharp knife, I used a sharp metal cookie cutter to slice the shapes instead instead; saving time, effort, and my fingers.
For this design I used a large star shaped cutter for the front and back and a tiny one to create the shooting star trail around the sides of the pumpkin.
Here are the steps to recreate this at home:
1 Cut a star shaped lid. Rather than just slicing the top off, like ususal, I cut a star shape for this one. It didn’t take much longer and looks a little more interesting than a circular lid. I used a knife for this as the top is always a bit tough. But straight lines are easier to cut than circles anyway, so it doesn’t take a minute to do this.
Next you’ll need to hollow it out with a large spoon (this is the fiddly bit. Be patient)
2 Use a cookie cutter to punch star shapes into the sides.
I used the back of a wooden spoon to push the cutter through the outer skin (they can be a bit tough) But if the cutter has a metal edge then it should slice through nicely.
3 Use the end of your wooden spoon to push the cutter right through. If it’s proving tricky, the pointy end of the wooden spoon will encourage the cutter through!
4 Repeat as many times as required. I cut out a ‘shooting star’ trail of tiny stars leading out from a large star at the front and back.
(any ideas of what to do with the leftover pumpkin stars welcome!)
5 You’re done!
Put your lovely pumpkin pride of place on the mantlepiece or window sill.
6 Fill with battery powered candles instead of real flames. Real candles in pumpkins always make me nervous, probably because they are usually put on window sills, close to curtains and flammable things. For a worry-free Halloween I’d always use battery powered tea lights. Or…
7 Use fairy lights! To make it really glow, you can put a string of battery operated fairy lights inside the pumpkin. I used a string of tiny star fairy lights for mine, just to go all out with my shooting star theme.
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I’d love to know what you think of this. And if you have any tips for pumpkin carving?