Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween – they’re good ALL SEASON LONG!
I think pumpkins have more to do with the autumn harvest – even though they’re used for both the jack-o-lanterns and the common shape for the trick or treat bags. But Pumpkins are a common fall harvest vegetable, good for Halloween, Thanksgiving and all through the fall. They’re good for baking, decorating, and yes – for jack-o-lanterns, too.
For many years, I’ve bought and painted pumpkins – it’s easier than carving, the pumpkin lasts longer, and it disassociated with the Halloween jack-o-lantern. Any kind of acrylic paint will work, and you can paint any kind of happy or silly face that you want. Top it with a wig or yarn hair, a hat, whatever you want. Have a blast with it.
Once, we decided to actually carve one, harvest the seeds, harvest the flesh and make a pie and roast the seeds. So we did. Now, let me tell you – if you just want fresh pumpkin there is an easier way to do it. But I remembered carving a pumpkin once as a kid and I wanted to do it. So we did. We carved a castle on the front. We saved and roasted the seeds. We scraped and scraped and scraped and cooked and froze the pumpkin to use the next month at Thanksgiving. The kids really enjoyed it. And it got me thinking.
The next year, we carved pumpkins again. This time, I carved the girls’ faces, a pumpkin for each. I carved their names also. As we placed a candle inside, we talked about how the pumpkins represented each of them, and we read the passage in Matthew about not hiding your light but letting it shine before men. I’m pretty sure I also threw in the passage from Philippians about shining as lights in a crooked and depraved generation and the admonition to shine so brightly by doing things without grumbling and complaining. ; ) We prayed together and declared that these pumpkins would serve as our reminder to shine brightly for God, for as long as the jack-o-lanterns lasted, and beyond.
We did this two years in a row before I found the book, The Pumpkin Patch Parable. I LOVED IT. It took what I was doing just a little bit farther, but it fit in so well with what I had in mind. The story line and the illustrations are simple and sweet and it’s a story that any kid would enjoy.
Pumpkins are for more than carving, too, as I’ve already mentioned. I like to decorate with pumpkins as well. You can use an assortment of pumpkins outside, on your tabletop, a mantle… wherever. You can paint them, use a pumpkin as a head and make a pumpkin man/scarecrow. You can fill a bowl with mini pumpkins. Mini pumpkins and GOURDS. I adore mini pumpkins and gourds. With some wheat. Or hay. And berries. You get the idea.
You can use real pumpkins, or fake pumpkins. I have an assortment of fake gourds mixed with real gourds and mini pumpkins on my piano – you can’t really tell the difference, but I get to reuse some of them year after year without replacing them. Truthfully, if I had been able to find decent looking faux gourds at the time, I wouldn’t have bought the fresh ones, but I want my money to be spent on items that are worth it – even if it is only a dollar. So I’ll look again next year.
And of course we all know pumpkins are great for baking! There’s the most famous pumpkin dish of all – THE PIE. I love me some pumpkin pie. Why is it that we feel the need to reserve pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving? Have it in October I say! Or if not, there are always pumpkin cheesecakes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin breads and pumpkin soups. YES, I said pumpkin soups! My favorites would be the pies and the cookies – YUM!
And the pumpkin crafts are endless! I adore these tea light candles made with mini pumpkins! A quick search of the internet will give you tons of craft ideas. How about these pumpkin funny faces, any one of these fun pumpkin crafts, or this “Bear-y” cute Pooh Bear lookalike craft complete with honey pot! (or any of the other 14 craft ideas – Bear pumpkin pictured above.)
GET CREATIVE. Pumpkins are part and parcel of the fall season, through Halloween and into Thanksgiving. Don’t be afraid to use pumpkins around your house for fear that someone will mistake them for Halloween decorations. Add some corn stalks or even a hay bale and add a sign – “Fabulous Fall!” Pumpkins are yummy, and pumpkins are beautiful and pumpkins are good!
Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe, craft or decoration? Leave your links for your favorite ideas in the comments!