Halloween: To die for DIY 0
If e’er there were a holiday made for do-it-yourselfers and last-minute party-throwers, Halloween would be it.
With nothing more than a pumpkin, you can have the adult world’s coolest keg, a festive icebox for chilling beverages, savoury seed snacks and haunting Halloween décor. The pumpkin’s versatility is trumped only by its orange-ness.
And because you’re spooking up your space with produce, you can forgo the sexy cat or cowboy outfit this year and afford the elaborate costume you really want. Even if you live next to an organic grocery store, at around $5 each, these gourd essentials are eerily budget-friendly.
So prepare your knives and cover all cloth-like surfaces — pumpkin is great but doesn’t know how to keep to itself.
The pumpkin keg
Host the most memorable Halloween hootenanny yet with this do-it-yourself pumpkin beer keg from the fine folks at Celebrations.com. And the creators maintain that if you can carve a pumpkin, you too can make a pumpkin keg.
If only it were Halloween every day.
- - one large pumpkin
- - marker or pencil
- - carving kit
- - plastic spigot a.k.a. tap (find online for $5)
- - lots of pumpkin beer
Pumpkin keg how-to
- Draw a ring around the pumpkin’s top, and carve a lid. *The higher the lid, the more beer you can hold.
- Carve pumpkin with kit or serrated knife.
- Get all the seeds out and most of the pulp, but don’t worry if some of that’s left behind since it’s responsible for flavouring the beer.
- Find a place for the spigot and trace around it with a pen. Cutting the hole will require a finely serrated knife, so the carving kit proves useful at this point.
- Make the hole as clean-cut as possible, then pop in your spigot. You may have to thin out the pumpkin’s inner wall to fit the spigot properly. Don’t be afraid to dig in — the pumpkin can take it.
- With the spigot secured, pour in beer and enjoy!
Haunt the halls with Halloween plates
Nothing is scarier than tacky decorations, so step up the spook-cessories with this tutorial from Heather Ribble (Mommyribs.blogspot.com).
Instead of putting decals on windows, Ribble opted to create decorative Halloween plates using Martha Stewart window and mirror clings (sold at Michael’s — but hurry, they are selling out). And the best part is, they are temporary and can be easily swapped out with next season’s motifs.
The clings cost her around $5 (on sale) and she found these plates at a thrift store, also for $5.
Even if you’re Bad Cook’s cousin, Dangerous Cook, pumpkin brains (or seeds) are something even the most amateur kitchen dabblers can master. Be warned, picking seeds out of a pumpkin is as gross as you think it is. However, no guts, no delicious glory.
- Rinse pumpkin seeds and pick out pulp (do this before it dries).
- Lay out seeds on an oiled baking sheet or tinfoil (rub them around in the oil).
- Salt generously and bake at 325 F until toasted (around 25 minutes).
- Make sure you stir halfway and don’t overcook, or they’ll be too dried out.
The bold and the boo-tiful
There really is no wrong way to accessorize a pumpkin.
So here are a few bejeweled, striped and floral options from Renee Elliott ofRecreativeworks.com
. You could also do what I’ve done and girly up warty gourds with some metallic craft paint.
It’s not a Halloween party until Jack (O’Lantern) has arrived.
Not just a pretty face, his ice brains are perfect for keeping bevies cool.
- Cut off the top of the pumpkin. I made a circle with some string and centred it on top, drawing out my lines to get the right, even spot. Although choppy, haphazard knife strokes could have a cool effect, too.
- Carve/gut your pumpkin. I found spoons to be useless so I scooped pulp out with my hands.
- Take a waterproof felt pen and draw desired face or image.
- Fill ice to the top and Jack is party-ready.
- * Try to carve your pumpkin the same weekend you plan to use it; this will cut down on the rapidly molding slime-innards getting on ice, drinks and guests.
- * The bigger the pumpkin, the more drinks it fits.