Oh Linus, of all people, only you seem to truly understand the sanctity of The Great Pumpkin.
Every year growing up my sister and I would carve our bizarre and often goofy jack’o’lanterns. If neighborhood bullies didn’t smash them before Halloween we would be able to light them up and watch them flicker from the sidewalk. For many years I had stopped carving pumpkins. I wasn’t trick or treating, and honestly, in college and after I couldn’t seem to muster the energy. And then, a year ago, my brother-in-law Wendell demanded we carve pumpkins. I had seen his creations in the past and been amazed, but never enough to bother making my own. Well we got our pumpkins, and after the rest of the family had lost interest and gone into the den, Wendell and I were still sitting there at the dining room table, creating and carving. I made Edgar Allan Poe. It was wonderful. Amazing. Once I brought it home everyone who visited would ooh and ahh. I realized, why wouldn’t you carve an awesome pumpkin? This was a whole new phase of pumpkin carving in my life!
I believe that you should play with your food. You should create, you should get your hands in it and see what the guts are like. Pumpkin carving gives you this opportunity. Now, don’t give me too much credit. I do use stencils, specifically from this site: Zombie Pumpkins
If you do decide to carve a pumpkin like this (which you should), choose a good-sized pumpkin, preferably with a side that is somewhat flat. This will make the carving easier. You will also need a pumpkin carving kit, like what they sell at cvs. Usually free stencils are included, or you can purchase stencils online like I did (5 dollars for 25 stencils that you pick-Yoda, Dexter, Frankenstein, Disney characters … millions to choose from). Tape the stencil paper on your pumpkin and follow the shapes while jabbing little holes every centimeter or so (the tool is in your kit). When you remove the paper this is what will guide you where to cut so you must do a good job. Carefully remove the paper to preserve the image. Cut where you should. When you are all done and have cleaned and widened the holes as best as possible, use a q-tip with some vaseline to go along the edges. This will help your pumpkin last longer. If it starts getting dry and gross looking, soak it in water to plump it back up.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
When carving your pumpkin, separate the seeds from the gunk. The best way to do this is after you have scraped the inside of your pumpkin and deposited the seeds/gunk into a large bowl, put that bowl in the sink and turn on the water. As you fill the bowl with water the seeds will naturally rise to the top. You can grab these seeds and put them in a separate bowl.
Preheat the oven to 325. Cover a large pan with tinfoil and spray with baking spray (like Pam). In the seed bowl mix in salt (I use fresh ground sea salt). If you want to be extra creative, I imagine pepper and parmesan cheese would be an interesting addition. Flatten the seeds on the pan and bake for about 25 minutes. These make a delicious snack, especially during the Patriot’s game like today!
Coming up soon: LT’s recipe for pumpkin bread… mmmm