It’s every child’s dream to have their very own pumpkin to take to bed at night, shine a torch inside, then scare the living wits out of themselves. And it is every housedad’s dream to provide that pleasure. But even more than that, it is my own personal goal to retain as much of the juicy pumpkin flesh to enable me to cook something with it. I’ve not got to that stage yet because these monsters have to be stuck outside our front door so that Trick or Treaters can know that we have piles of tooth-rotting sweets to give away, so watch this space.
In the meantime, here’s a very amateurish How To Guide to carving a Halloween Pumpkin, with the help of a Scary Pirate and the Cutest Grim Reaper you will ever see (hopefully you won’t be seein a less cute one any time soon!)
1. Buy a pumpkin. This one cost £1 from my local market stall.
2. Take a felt tip pen and draw a circle around the stalk at the top. Rub it out and draw it again so it’s a bit more circular.
3. With a very sharp knife, saw along the circle. Re-attached tip of finger with a plaster.
4. Pull the top out using the stalk as a handle to reveal a very satisfying chandelier of seedy gore. Step back as you wonder if this is what a vegetable would look like if it had haemorrhoids!
5. Adopt the position of a vet about to stick its hand up a cow’s nethers and pull out all the seeds. Scrape as many out with your fingernails. Wince. Shudder. Wash hands.
6. To avoid rim decay (!), smear a healthy dollop of Vaseline or lip balm around the open wounds of the cut flesh.
7. Take a piece of paper and get one small boy to draw a scary face. Make small boy pose with it for scale and contrast.
8. Cut out drawing with scissors to make a stencil and get small boy to hold it over the pumpkin as a template. Ignore.
9. Using another, or same, felt tip to draw a face roughly similar to the one small boy drew on paper. Put fingers in ears and say ‘La la la’ when small boy erupts into cries of protest when it doesn’t compare.
10. Tell small boy to go and watch TV or play on the computer while you carve out scary face with serrated knife, explaining: ‘This is MAN’s work.’ Reveal artisan masterpiece to small boy. Force him to hold it up for camera, as if proud, or he won’t be going to the Halloween party.
11. Stick Mum’s best towel on the table and assemble variety of painting substances. Force small boy to strip to underpants because ‘that stuff will never come out in the wash and I’m not here to spend the rest of my life rubbing Vanish into the stains. I’m not your slave, you know.’
12. Repeat all of the above with another small boy.
14. Leave the kitchen. Cross fingers and hope the Third World War won’t have happened while you’re away.
15. Heap lavish praise on two small boys for their Picasso-like genius at creating the best pumpkins that have ever been seen. Then prepare them for the disappoint of not winning the school Pumpkin Competition by explainign that it’s the taking part, not the winning, that counts.
16. Leave small boys to assume their alter egos to go and fight the ghosts and ghoulies.
UPDATE: This might come as an enormous surprise to you, but neither pumpkin was placed in the school Halloween Pumpkin Competition – despite me offering the Head Teacher a generous bribe!