Halloween’s upon us again. And hasn’t it arrived spookily fast!
With a six-year-old in the house there’s no escaping the annual onslaught of ghosts, ghouls and ghastly goings-on. Every morning – and I do mean every morning – comes the now familiar question: ‘How many sleeps till Halloween?’ This has been going on since mid-September but, I suppose, a little mental arithmetic first thing is a great way to wake up a sleepy brain.
But I’m no curmudgeon so let’s embrace it all! Here, then, are a few nature-inspired ideas to decorate your home this Halloween.
Carve a Halloween Pumpkin
You may have grown your own, but if you haven’t you certainly don’t have to look far to pick up a pumpkin at this time of year.
Start your carved creation by carefully cutting open the top or, more discreetly, the bottom of the pumpkin. Scrape out the seeds with a serving spoon, removing all the stringy bits too. Please don’t throw away those seeds! Put them aside to roast with spices for a deliciously crunchy, high-protein snack.
Now begin carving. A small sharp, serrated, flexible knife is best for this. You can draw your design onto the pumpkin using a marker pen before carving it out. Or secure a template with sticky tape before skewering holes along the outline to imprint the design into the skin. Remove the template and use your knife to cut along the dots as you carve. There are lots of downloadable templates online, for example here.
Carefully peeling or shaving away the very top layer of orange skin in strategic places such as the eyes and teeth can add further depth to the overall design. If you’re the patient sort then a design created entirely by shaving can look genuinely awesome, with astonishingly intricate artworks depicting everything from politicians to cartoon characters possible.
Show-stopping Pumpkin Vase
Don’t fancy carving a pumpkin? That’s okay, not everyone’s after a jack-o’-lantern to spook the neighbourhood youngsters. Instead, why not use your pumpkin (or any winter squash for that matter) to create an explosion of autumnal joy; a seasonal show-stopper.
Lop off the top, scoop out the insides then fill with the last of the season’s flowers: Michaelmas daisies, chrysanthemums, dahlias and the like. Pictured above is our very own GrowVeg social media whizz Susie with her fantastically floral display.
And there’s nothing quite like a heavyweight huddle of pumpkins, squashes and gourds to set the scene for autumn. Arrange them on a cushion of straw and enjoy their magnificent marvellousness! Bring them inside before it gets frosty or they begin to rot – there’s some good eating to be had there and we don’t want to waste all that tasty flesh.
Autumn wreaths for the front door or dinner table are a great way to bring together the very best of the season into one place. They capture this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness perfectly, and are relatively easy to make.
You can use a traditional wire wreath frame. Or weave a frame from flexible stems such as dogwood or hazel for a completely natural base to your wreath. Into the frame you can tuck all sorts of seasonal goodies: berry-laden stems, autumn leaves, pinecones, strawflowers, sprigs of heather – you name it. Secure stems into position with florists’ wire.
How about a wreath made from decorative Indian corn? Peel back the husks from one half of each cob to reveal the colourful kernels then hot-glue the cobs to a craft ring. Or what about a wheatsheaf wreath for a simple, straw-coloured celebration of the recent harvest? Get arty, get crafty and create a statement – who ever said wreaths were just for Christmas!
Tell us your plans for Halloween. Is pumpkin carving a family activity you look forward to every year? Or perhaps you have other ingenious ways of showcasing all that autumnal colour and texture? Let us know down below.