Log Cabins and Summerhouses are the perfect place to host a Halloween party. Invite your friends over to see if they can brave the ‘haunted house’. With a few simple decorations, you can turn your nice inviting garden building into a house of absolute horror.
The main decoration you should be thinking about is the Jack-o-Lantern. Originally made from turnips in the early 1800’s, the lanterns were carried by children door-to-door to represent the souls of the dead. As time has progressed, they are more likely to be found on a door step, and the faces have gone from scary to beautifully ornate. We are going to show you how to carve a basic pumpkin, line them up for a creepy path from your home to your ghostly garden building.
You can find pumpkins anywhere; supermarkets, farmers markets, pumpkin patches or you may have chose to grow your own. You need to find healthy pumpkins, free from bruises or cuts and with a sturdy stem. Similar to a melon, you should knock on this to see if you hear a hollow sound, ensure that it is ripe before taking it home.
Pumpkins tend to rot quickly so ensure that you buy your pumpkin a week before Halloween to allow it to keep its form for your guests, the larger the better! If you have carved it early, place it in a bucket of water to keep it moist.
This is the trickiest bit. If you are a beginner at this, pick a simple design such as Jack from Nightmare before Christmas, as his is a smile, nose and eyes. Or, if you feel confident, you can create a silhouette image which stands out strongly against the orange background. A grande life offer over 750 stencils to inspire you!
Once you have chosen a design, you need to draw it on the pumpkin. Some people use a permanent marker to outline the design whilst, for more advanced carvers, a projected image can work wonders.
Now the fun begins! The carving of the pumpkin is a skill that most people have not quite mastered yet. Make sure you have the right tools before you begin. A bread knife with serrated edge should do if you do not have a jab saw. Do not use a straight edge blade! You have to saw through the pumpkin similar to how you would saw through wood; straight edged blades simply do not provide you with enough control. Make sure you have plenty of space with your surfaces covered. The carving of a pumpkin can get messy and preparation makes clean up easy. Lay out all your tools and a bowl to keep the pumpkin innards (great for pumpkin pie).
It is time to start carving! First, cut out the lid, normally about 1-3 inches from the stem. Do not cut this dead straight; rather invert the blade towards the middle of the pumpkin so that the lid sits flush rather than risking it falling into the centre of the pumpkin. Try to remember where the lid was positioned so you can set it back perfectly, mark it if necessary. Get a big spoon, or use your hands if you are messy, and remove all the filling from inside the pumpkin. You need to ensure this is as clean as you can get it. If you save the seeds, you can grow your own pumpkins next year!
Carve you design using gentle motions to ensure you don’t damage the pumpkin and make it fold on itself. Take your time, there is no rush to finish it, get rid of the unwanted pieces as you go to avoid confusion.
Traditionally you should use candlesticks or tea lights, but currently flashlights and LEDs are a popular option. The type of pumpkin should help you make a decision; if it is slightly wobbly it may be difficult to balance a candle inside it. In the case you do choose to use a real candle, make sure that you have got enough ventilation to keep it lit. If you have carved it, the holes should be enough, if not simply remove the lid entirely.
Let us see your pumpkin creations, place the images in the comments box below!