It’s Pumpkin Time

By: Joseph Clardy


These funky pumpkins were painted by Handmade Charlotte!
It’s that time of year, my friends. In every corner of every city one can find Halloween memorabilia featuring none other than everyone’s favorite gourd: the pumpkin. Pumpkins are the iconic figure of this spooky time of year (alongside, perhaps, skeletons). No one is safe from the pumpkin’s onslaught. Grocery stores become filled with crates stuffed with pumpkins. Restaurants bring out pumpkin pies. The infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte is reborn from the ashes of the previous year.


Of course, with the pumpkin-pocalypse looming near, the annual question returns to plague us: What new thing can I do with pumpkins to show off my undying love and support of the Spooktacular Season that is Halloween? Rest assured, I am here to alleviate the stress involved with celebrating this fine holiday properly.


Crafts
Pumpkins are best known for their use as Jack O’ Lanterns, the classic Halloween decoration. To make a Jack O’ Lantern, simply carve a hole in the top of your pumpkin (save the “lid” for later), hollow out the inside, carve a design into it, and place a light source (usually a candle) within. To give your newly created Jack O’ Lantern a second function, you can sprinkle ground cinnamon on the inside of the “lid” you carved off initially. This  will turn your creation into a natural scented-candle.


Pumpkins can be used in other craft projects as well. For example, instead of carving an intricate design into the face of a pumpkin (which can easily go wrong), you can paint pumpkins for a similar effect. Since the inside of the pumpkin will not be exposed to the elements, the rotting process will be slower, so your masterpiece will be able to stay on display for longer.


Another crafty use that will appeal to lovers of rustic designs is to just leave the pumpkin as is. An untouched pumpkin makes for a classy table decoration, and many pumpkins can be arranged as a small pumpkin patch in your yard, giving it a harvest aesthetic.


Food
Autumn is known for its tasty treats. A leftover from the days when people’s lives relied heavily on the harvest, baked goods and sweets become ever more prevalent the closer to the end of the year we get. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Halloween season if we didn’t stuff half of the things we eat with pure pumpkin perfection!


Popular instances of pumpkin food items include pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice coffees, pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin spice cereals, etc. Basically, anything regularly eaten throughout the year is reborn in the fall with a pumpkin spice version. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.


The most famous pumpkin treat is pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is a simple, yet delicious, recipe to bake. First you’ll need the following ingredients:
  • One (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
  • ¾ cup of white sugar
  • one tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. of salt
  • ½ tsp. of ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. of ground cloves
  • two eggs
  • one (15-oz.) can of pumpkin
  • one (12-fl. oz.) can of evaporated milk
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and follow these simple instructions to create an amazing pumpkin pie:
  1. Mix cinnamon, sugar, salt, cloves, and ginger in a bowl.
  2. Lightly beat the eggs in a larger bowl.
  3. Stir in the pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Slowly stir in evaporated milk, then pour mixture into the pie shell.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes before lowering the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake at the new temperature for 45 minutes, or until a knife that is inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool on a wire rack, then serve!
Recipe courtesy of Nestle Toll House via allrecipes.com


Clearly, pumpkins are an important part of the Halloween season. We must be sure not to squander the opportunity this holiday gives us. So go out there and get as many pumpkins as you can carry. It’s pumpkin time.