All across the country, boys and girls will be finding their capes, fangs, and broomsticks and taking part in lots of different Halloween based activities. Some people will have a spooky Halloween party, and others will go ‘trick or treating’ around their neighbourhood. But for us here at Eureka! there is one Halloween activity that we like best of all, with the spookiest fruit to be found: the pumpkin!
Now you might think the pumpkin is a vegetable, but because it has seeds inside of it, like other hard shelled squash it’s actually a fruit. You see it mostly around Halloween, and it can be used for many different things. Boil, bake, steam, roast, mash or even put it in a pie! And, the best part about the pumpkin is you can have a fun art project and also get in one of your ‘five-a-day’.
Here at Eureka! we love to have a good pumpkin carving, and making our very own ‘Jack-o-lanterns’. Although the first Jack-o-lanterns in Ireland were made with turnips and swedes, most are now made with pumpkins and making your own is both easy and lots of fun!
Here are some tips on how to make your very own Jack-o-lantern!
Please remember that all of the carving must be done by an adult, as the skin of a pumpkin is very tough.
- Find yourself a really big pumpkin. You can find them in most supermarkets around Halloween.
- Take your pumpkin home and give it a good wash.
- Using a carving knife, or a pumpkin carving set, carve a ‘lid’ into the top of your pumpkin. Do not throw away the lid, as you will need it later!
- Using your hands, scoop out all of the seeds and hollow out the inside of the pumpkin. Why not roast some of the seeds to see how they taste?
- Use a black marker pen to draw your design on to the outside of your pumpkin.
- When you have your design just right, carefully cut out the pattern to make the scary face.
- Then place a small candle inside the pumpkin.
- Get an adult to light the candle and place the lid back on top of the pumpkin.
- Finally, place your pumpkin in a window looking out on to the street, and give everybody a fright!
Enjoy your pumpkin carving and Happy Halloween!
Ben Guilfoyle is an Outreach Enabler at Eureka! The National Children’s Museum