“I want Elsa! And Anna! And Snow White” said Kitty waving her soup spoon wildly at the computer as the screen scrolled down.
“Mickeymouseclubmouse!!” replied Elma
“Umm” I thought. Perhaps it wasn’t exactly the best idea to search google for pumpkin carving images. At least, maybe not with the girls around. I’m terribly flattered by their confidence in my abilities to wield a paring knife with skill but given that I have carved I think three pumpkins before in my entire life, two of which were the traditional spooky face, and the other of which was a cat, which is pretty much a spooky face with ears and whiskers, the entire cast of Frozen rendered in miniature orange silhouette really is beyond me.
With a bit of persuasion they refined their plans and I sketched out a few ideas; and then we made them even simpler, and smaller when I realised just how teeny tiny the pumpkins that girls had picked out actually are when you’re trying to carve a picture into them. Note to self: buy bigger pumpkins.
Last time we tried pumpkin carving Kitty was most decidedly unimpressed about the idea of putting her hand into the pumpkin and scooping out the guts, and as Elma is now a similar age it was no real surprise that she took one look at her pumpkin and turned to me with a slightly worried expression:
“No like it. Mummy do it.”
So Mummy did Elma’s while Kitty attacked her pumpkin with gusto and an ice cream scoop.
Pumpkin seeds and orange slime went flying.
I’m beginning to think that a really clean scoop out is one of the keys to a neat and tidy looking carved pumpkin but we haven’t mastered that yet, so we went for the best we could manage before all enthusiasm for the subject went out the window.
My other top tip gleaned from the internet was to cut the bottom not the top of the pumpkin to scoop it out, then you have a nice flat bottom to balance the pumpkin on, and you can light a candle and lower the pumpkin over it rather than trying to light through your carving.
And so I sat looking at two small pumpkins, one paring knife, one barbeque skewer and the expectations of my daughters. Well if we’re going to go for cliches: in for a penny, in for a pound, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and practice makes perfect.
May I present this year’s pumpkins:
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (Elma’s) and Slinky Malinki (Kitty’s).
They’re not technically very impressive (there’s a carousel with horses pictured on google that’s just jaw dropping if you want impressive) but sat out on the garden wall with tea lights flickering away underneath them they look rather sweet; lightening the darkness and bringing cheer to the greyest of days.