As some children may be aware, it is Halloween. On Saturday night, Weird-Wide News received reports of ghosts, ghouls, zombies, vampires and other vile creatures stalking the streets of Ireland. Some fairies and princesses were spotted too, though they may not have lasted too long out in that chaos, magic wands or no magic wands.
Houses need protection on Halloween night, and nothing offers better protection from the undead and all those other creepy things than a good old-fashioned pumpkin-head.
Since obtaining a stepson, I now have an excuse to do things like help him make pumpkins and costumes. Here’s my quick guide to making a cool pumpkin.
Step 1: Cut off the top of its skull, making sure you cut it in one piece, so you can use it as a lid. The stem makes a good handle, if there’s enough of it left.
Step 2: Using a water-soluble marker (like a white-board marker), draw the face onto the best side, making it look suitably nasty.
Step 3: Scoop out its brains (the gunk and seeds inside). The pumpkin is easy to hollow out. Scrape the inside as clean as you can – I find a soup-spoon works best.
Step 4: Using a sharp, thin knife, cut out its eyes and nose. Be careful with the knife – if it can cut holes in a pumpkin, it can cut holes in you. Only fake wounds are cool on Halloween. If you’re a child, you may need adult supervision. If you’re an adult and you cut yourself, it’s your own damn fault.
Step 5: Cut out its mouth and knock out the teeth to make suitable gaps. Then use a damp cloth to wipe off all the pen marks.
Step 6: Light a candle or two and place them inside (tea-lights are best) and put the lid back on. It helps if you scoop out a little socket in the floor of the pumpkin for each candle. Now your pumpkin has come to life. Turn out the lights and see that spooky face emit an unearthly glow.
Step 7: For best effect, set up your staging with a cloak or costume to shine through the front window and scare trick-or-treaters. The less people call to your door, the more junk will be left for you – unless you’re the weird, health-conscious type who hands out apples and mandarins. That said, a nostalgic part of me does lament the loss in popularity of monkey nuts.
If you’re too old to go trick-or-treating yourself, find a child you can help with their costume on the condition that they share some of their takings with you afterwards. This year, my stepson and I found the Star Wars character, Darth Maul, proved very successful in parting people from their goodies.