It’s about that time to B.Y.O.P. (bring your own pumpkin) to our annual Pumpkin Carving Party.
Happy Fall Y’All! I love this time of year. The routines are almost established for the new school year, sports and activities have begun, the firewood has been delivered, the air is crisper and the humidity has gone so now I might not wear my hair in a ponytail every day… probably every other day. Now that fall is upon us, I have to share one of my most favorite things to do during the fall!
We do the traditional October things like picking out costumes, buying candy twice for Trick-or-Treaters (twice because we usually eat the first purchase before Halloween), visit a Pumpkin Patch and carve pumpkins. Carve pumpkins… well that is a reason for a party! Our carving party started out with just our close family coming over for a bonfire and pumpkin carving but this party has grown to sometimes 50 people!
Don’t be scared, this is truly one of the easiest parties to host!
Start by determining your guest list. Do you want families or just adults or just kids? When my three were little we had basement parties with different centers that the kids would travel around to, but you’ll have to wait for that blog! Then they party changed to families Carving Pumpkins. Now that my kids are older, they have had their college buddies come over and carve. It has become a memorable fall tradition.
Now that you have decided on the type of party get your invites out. Evites are such an easy way to inform your guests and for the host to get a head count. I asked everyone to BYOP, (bring their own pumpkin) and put this in the notes section of the Evite. Unless you grow your own pumpkins, it can get pretty costly to supply pumpkins for everyone. Helpful hint: Have a few extra pumpkins in case someone forgets one. Once you have a head count you purchase paper products. I also like to decorate so keep an eye out for sales on Halloween Decorations.
While the party has grown over time, some things have remained the same:
1. Everyone brings their own pumpkins to carve. I love that one of our neighbors has six kids. She fills her wagon with pumpkins and treks down the hill. It’s just the cutest sight.
2. Everyone usually offers to bring something, I suggest an appetizer or dessert of their choice. (We have one little buddy that has a peanut allergy and as the host, I try to be aware of what people are bringing so I can let him and his parents know).
3. We provide drinks and spirits.
4. We provide hot dogs for roasting and s’mores.
5. We provide awards for the pumpkins.
Here are the things that change:
- Spirits… some years we have had hot cider with Fire Ball and this is my most favorite, especially if it is a chilly night! This drink is warm, tasty and the aroma is just great. Be sure the little ones stay away from the spiked cider. I make a batch of this and put it in a crockpot and friends can serve themselves throughout the night. This year our adult beverage will be Dark and Stormy. I’ll let you know how it goes. After a trip to a distillery in Maryland, we bought some amazing rum and there it was decided Dark and Stormy has to be our Carving Party beverage!
Recipe for Spiked Cider
- 1 cup hot apple cider
- 2 oz Fireball Whiskey
- Cinnamon Sticks
Pour 1-1/2 to 2 ounces Fireball Whisky into hot apple cider. Stir with cinnamon stick. Serve
Hot Cider Mugs are a huge hit when they are filled with spiked cider! You can use them all season long with or without a little Fireball!
- hot dogs, buns condiments
- S’Mores- graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey Chocolates
- Fall appetizers- an easy one is a cheese tray- 5 types(Gouda, Smoke Cheddar, Goat, Havarti, and Gorgonzola) and fruit (apples, pears or grapes) I try to do some fun food for the kids too.
- Desserts- one of my must-haves is Pumpkin Dip! It is easy and yummy! (recipe below)
Recipe for Pumpkin Dip
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
Beat first five ingredients until blended. Gradually beat in pumpkin until smooth. Serve in a cute Pumpkin Serving Bowl. Refrigerate leftovers. Serve with Spiced Wafers and/or Apple slices.
The awards were mentioned above. I really thought this was just for fun but we have a few little ones that somehow, this party really brings out their competitive edge and they want an award. The award is not a monetary prize or a trophy but simply a piece of paper designed by my awesome husband Scott. It is too much pressure to award a pumpkin for me, so I designate my daughter’s boyfriend Wil as our official award giver. He does a great job and somehow he knows when someone really needs an award! We only had one year where a little one went home sad because her pumpkin didn’t win and yes, that broke my heart. But good news she somehow won the following year. Here are a few of the categories we have used but you can adapt as it fits your crew:
Best use of Tools
Carving can be messy so we have tables set up in our garage covered with plastic themed tablecloths with easy access to trashcans. We have a ton of safe carving tools. You can purchase them at the Dollar Store. My cohost husband has a love of anything technical. So a few years ago he wanted to have a Halloween movie going while people could roast hotdogs or make S’mores. Next thing I know he purchased a projector and set up a movie for the party. Even though it was quite windy the night of the party there were only two little ones that sat and watched The Great Pumpkin, it was so sweet and my husband was happy. Here is the outdoor projector he recommends and best Halloween movie: The Great Pumpkin.
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