Thursday, 23 October 2014


Halloween is upon us once more and as you know it's one of my favourite times of year. As an EFL Teacher it is part of my job to teach you about the customs and traditions of English speaking countries and as I dealt with the the history of Halloween last year, this time round I thought I'd do something a little more practical. A quick how-to on pumpkin carving. You don't have to celebrate Halloween to have fun doing this and if you are careful you can save the pumpkin pulp and bake pies, soups or dry the seeds for a great snack - recipes links included! (Purple words explained below.)

WARNING: Sharp knives must be used so be very careful and get an adult to help you if necessary!

1. You can use any kind of pumpkin, marrow or courgette to create a Jack o' lantern. Wash the outside as you want your lantern to glow!

2. Using a sharp knife, cut off the stalk section remembering to leave enough of the flesh around it to use as a lid. If you are using a long thin vegetable such as a marrow or courgette, you can slice it about one third from the top.

3. Using a soup spoon or a table spoon hollow out the vegetable so you are left with about half a centimetre of skin/flesh left. If you you are using a marrow or courgette don't forget to do the lid as well! This is the longest, hardest and messiest part so be patient and persevere!
 4. Now you can carve your design. If you need guidelines draw it with a permanent marker on the outside first. There are two ways to cut; either cut pieces away to make holes so the flame is visible or cut way just the outer skin and leave a little flesh so the flame glows through the opaque flesh.  Faces are traditional but I have seen beautiful scenes, abstract designs and even pictures copied from books!

5. Tea lights are the best for lighting your pumpkin as they have a foil base and none of the wax spills.

REMEMBER: Candles are dangerous and must be kept away from flammable objects such as curtains and furnishings. You should never leave your Jack o' lantern unattended whilst lit.

American Pumpkin Pie
Greek Pumpkin Pie
Smashing Pumpkin Soup
Roasted Pumpkin seeds

For lots of other things Halloween I found a great site last night called Halloween Forevermore, check it out! It has film reviews, stories and articles about Halloween 365 days a year!

shed light on - to make something easy to see/understand
pulp - soft string inner part of a pumpkin
marrow/courgette - vegetables of the same family as pumpkins
glow - shine in the dark
flesh - soft part of the pumkin that can be eaten
slice - cut
hollow out - take the insides out of something so that it is empty inside
skin - the hard outer part of the pumpkin
persevere - keep trying
opaque - allowing light but niotimages to pass through
abstract - with no clear design
wax - what candles are made of
flammable - easily catch fire
unattented - alone

Happy Halloween!



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