Halloween came ealry to our household this year because the boys’ school had organised a spooky party, complete with ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties – and that was just the staff!
Since I became a housedad last year, one of my duties is to be all things to all man, woman and child, and thus I climbed another rung on the domestic learning curve by helping my kids to carve pumpkins for the party.
My only association with pumpkins before now has been to chop them up and turn them into soup, but there is a deft art to pumpkin decoration that goes way beyond just hacking at it with a knife.
And so here I present a Pumpkin Carving Masterclass in 6 simple stages.
1. First lop off the top of the vegetable, where the stalk protrudes. Imagine you’re a Red Indian scalping General Custer. Easy peasy.
2. Next, recruit a small child – in this case, my nine year-old stepdaughter . Arm her with a spoon and tell her to scrape out all the slimy, sticky innards while you go and have a cup of tea.
3. After they’ve stopped bickering over who gets the biggest pumpkin, encourage your children draw faces on their chosen sphere. Square eyes and a jagged smile are very fashionable these days.
4. Now take the sharpest knife you own (I used my Tojiro Japanese paring knife) and have your youngest child pose with it so you can take a sensationalist photograph, both for your blog and to freak his mother out when she gets home from work.
5. Show your kids that you have far more about you than just ironing shirts and bunging frozen chips in the oven by demonstrating your He-Man credentials, by deftly carving faces from the pumpkin flesh. Be careful not to let them see you crying when you almost cut the top of your finger off.
6. Locate some craft paints, taking great care to choose paints that have virtually no sticking atttributes and thus will be guaranteed to slide off the pumpkin no matter how many layers you apply. Give the children paintbrushes and leave them to it.