It’s that time of year when the leaves are turning, the air’s growing crisp, and pumpkin picking is in full swing! Before we know it, Halloween will be upon us. And, one of the best parts of Halloween is carving pumpkins on the patio.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with carving pumpkins on your own, it can be so much more fun with friends. Hosting a pumpkin carving party can be the perfect way to get your best gals and guys in the spirit.
The following tips can help make this year’s pumpkin carving bash a breeze!
Top Tables with Craft Paper
No matter how you slice it, carving pumpkins can be messy. This is why carving outside on the patio is your best bet! It’ll save you from cleaning pumpkin innards off your floor, walls, and ceiling. (Pumpkin carving parties can get wild.)
To protect your outdoor patio furniture, you’ll want to cover it with craft paper. This will not only help keep the gunk from getting on the table, but it will also make cleanup a breeze. All you’ll have to do is ball up the paper and throw it in the trash. Easy peasy.
Put Out Bowls for Seed & ‘Gunk’
Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious. So don’t let them go to waste. Make sure you have an easy place for you and your guests to scoop out the seeds and the innards. Let guests take home some to roast on their own or you could roast them during the party for a fun and timely appetizer.
Have Carving Templates Available
Some folks will want to free-hand their pumpkin. That’s awesome! There’s a lot to be said for the classic Jack-o-Lantern face. However, some of your guests are likely to want a more intricately designed face. And, there are few among us can free-hand a castle or winking witch. Having a few printable pumpkin carving templates readily available will make everyone happy.
If you plan to roast your pumpkin seeds, that’s a great start. However, that’s only going to go so far. You’ll want to have some additional appetizers on hand. Chips and dip are a classic. But for this Halloween-inspired party, you might want to get a bit more creative.
Cheese sticks with marinara sauce can be made into severed fingers. Meatballs can become marinated eyeballs. Courtney from Pizzazzerie has a delicious and adorable Monster Eye Asparagus Gruyere Tart. For the sweet side of things, you might consider Chocolate Pumpkin Squares.
The idea is to keep things simple. And, to have as many make-ahead items as possible, so that you can worry less about the food and more about enjoying time with your guests carving pumpkins.
Make a Help-Yourself Drink Station
While you don’t want your guest’s glasses to be empty, you’re not going to want to run around all night topping everyone’s drink off. A help-yourself station allows you the freedom to mingle without making your guests feel neglected.
Sticking to beer and wine lets you keep things simple. If you want a cocktail, you might consider having just one themed drink so as to not complicate matters. This Apple Cider Cocktail recipe from Eden at Sugar and Plum is a brilliant sweet and tart fall mix.
You’ll also want to make sure you have a non-alcoholic option. Water’s obvious. But some juice or flavored water can really make your non-drinkers feel welcomed and cared for.
Pumpkin Carving Tools
This goes without saying, but carving pumpkins with your bare hands is going to be a tough job. While kitchen knives will do in a pinch, you and your guests will be much happier with a pumpkin carving set. These sets include small blades and scoops that are designed to fit within the cavity of a pumpkin.
Host a Costume Contest
Want to take your party to the next level? Consider hosting a costume contest too! There’s no rule that you can only dress up on Halloween. Find out how creative your friends are! Just be sure you’re ready to reward the winner with something worthy of their inventive outfit — like an oversized cowboy hat or batch of homemade cookies.