I LOVE Halloween, and I love all the cold, misty, spooky, spine-tingling titillating things it brings to out murky October evenings. I seldom trick or treat nowadays, unless my nieces and nephews drag me kicking and screaming. I much prefer to be huddled somewhere telling ghost stories, surrounded by friends, a warm fire and some glowing pumpkins - OR I like to take part in a spooky evening of sorts. So today, I'm celebrating all thing Halloween, from pretty Pumpkin carvings to Victorian ghost walks .... so read on if your dare!!
Spooky nights out ...
Wherever you live, you needn't look far when it comes to ghost walks and spooky events ... a quick search through google or your local paper will send you in the right direction in no time. I really fancied a spooky night out this year, so I did a little search of my area. I almost booked to attend the 'gore night' at the supposedly haunted Stansted Mountfichet Hill of Horrors - but (I'm ashamed to say) I completely chickened out after reading the blurb which said something like "A night of pure blood, horror and gore!" Perhaps I'll muster the courage for next year. If you think you can handle the Hill of horrors then please go ahead, and let me know how you get on ... should you make it through the night that is. Personally the Audley End Victorian Ghost story evening is more my cup of tea! their blurb reads "Join Miss Cassandra Worthy and her fellow Victorians for an evening of macabre, stories of the extraordinary and tales of terror ... it is an eerie evening filled with tales of dark deeds in the Great Hall, ghostly apparitions in the Service Wing and scary happenings outside." How exciting!
If you're too afraid to head out into the night and don't fancy leaving the house this year, then you might remember my article last year about our traditional ghost story nights by candlelight ... you don't need TV or scary films to send a shiver down your spine - turn the lights off, light some candles and spook the kids with some spooky tales! For some classic spine tingling stories pop along to my blog ahandmadecottage.com and search 'Halloween' ... though I suggest reading them through first - some are a little too scary for the kiddies, you have been warned!
Pretty leaf-carved pumpkins
As for decorations, nothing says Halloween like pumpkins. However, if you're a little tired of the evil looking toothless-hag style of pumpkin and want to opt for something a little prettier this year (Yea I know they're are meant to be scary but even scary things can look pretty!) why not try carving some leaves instead! .... or you could always have a scary face one side and some pretty leaves the other! :-)
You will need:
A pumpkin carving kit
Some dried leaves (optional)
Bear in mind, some pumpkins are much easier to carve than others. The thinner the skin, the easier it will be. First draw your design ... I used read dried leaves as a stencil for my first attempt. However, I found the big leaves quite difficult to cut out (as my skin was quite thick) so I then drew a design with smaller leaves free-handed, which was much easier to cut out.
A pumpkin carving set comes with a sharp blade, and a rolling device that allows you to pierce a line in the pumpkin before carving, which makes it easier it cut. If you're serious about pumpkin carving I'd suggest investing in a good pumpkin carving set as many novelty shop-bought set can fall apart pretty easily.
So begin by cutting a circle around the top of the pumpkin - big enough to allow you to scoop out the inside. Then - (you guessed it) scoop out the inside! and get as much off the sides as you can, as this will make it easier to carve. Then when finished, begin carving out your design!