Young children love making pumpkin lanterns but will need a bit of help with the cutting and scooping. We always stand the lit pumpkin lanterns on the window ledge outside at Halloween, to let trick or treaters know we’re home.
First get the kids to draw some big, scary pumpkin face designs on a piece of paper. Sharp, crooked teeth and spooky triangular eyebrows always look frightening. Cut a flat section off the top of each pumpkin with a notch in it (so you know which way it fits back on) to become the lantern lid. Then the children can starting scooping out the seeds and flesh in the middle (keep it all in a big bowl for now). Scooping is a bit tiring – you’ll probably need to take over, scraping and cutting the flesh off the sides of the pumpkin where necessary.
Once the pumpkins are scooped bare, ask your children to draw their favourite faces or shapes with felt-tip marker on the side – make them as big as possible. Cut out the pumpkin faces by pushing a short, sharp knife around the mouth or nose, then pushing the skin and flesh from the inside out. Place a tealight inside the pumpkin, and put the lid back on. You can add accessories: a black paper eye patch or a witch’s hat look good.
The pumpkin flesh makes delicious soup, or you can purée it to use in pumpkin pie. To make roasted pumpkin seeds (delicious and nutritious), separate the seeds, rinse and dry them. Put them one layer thick on a lightly oiled baking tray, stirring until they’re coated with the oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 170 degrees C, Gas Mark 3 for about 20 to 25 mins, stirring after 10 mins.