It’s that time! A party is a perfect time to carve some pumpkins! Remember I like to create my own meaning of perfect but October to me is almost perfection without me having to redefine. There are several reasons that October is perfection. I’ll skip the pumpkin spice latte reference and skip straight to its fall y’all! Octobers in Tennessee are the best. October means it’s leaf season, cooler temperatures (finally!), bonfires and all things Halloween. Oh and let’s not forget October is my birthday month! Click here to be entered into my birthday/October giveaway.
Two of my favorite holidays are my birthday and Halloween. (Yes my birthday is a holiday at least in my house). But as my millennials get older and have their own things to do, it gets harder and harder to coordinate birthday dinners and holiday parties. They work and go to school so we save up vacation days for the Big Holidays and actual vacations. October is also still college football season for a little while longer for our family so there’s that to work around.
Even thought they’re older, I still love my holiday traditions. I’m a sucker for things like carving pumpkins, coloring eggs, Santa Claus and advent calendars. I still like to have my crew gathered around to engage in our traditions. We just have to find new ways and make time to do them.
Last year we sort of by accident started a newish tradition. We combined our Halloween festivities and my birthday celebration. That solves several dilemmas for us. We get Halloween stuff done early so the New Dad and Mom have time on actual Halloween to trick or treat with the Fiveasaurus and now my little Million Dollar Girl gets to go! We get pumpkins and mums placed. I’ve got decorations for my house as a bonus! Now my boys are all about getting together. That’s not the hard part. Getting them to engage in corny traditions sometimes can be. I’ve discovered the way it works for me to get pumpkins carved and celebrate my birthday is to have a pumpkin carving contest. My boys are fairly competitive so they’re usually up for any sort of competition. I was impressed this year as they filed in prepared with stencils and kits!
So what does it take to put on a Pumpkin Carving Contest of epic proportions?
- Well the obvious first answer is GET PUMPKINS! This year the Sheriff bought 13 pumpkins for starters. We buy lumpy ones, short ones, fat ones, tall ones and of course the traditional perfectly round and bright orange pumpkins. That’s seems to be the gourd of choice for carving. We took the Fiveasaurus and Million Dollar Girl to the local fruit market to pick out the pumpkins they liked.
2. Gather the tools. You may have to loan your good knives for the most precise pumpkin surgery but the results will be worth it. You can always get a new knife but you can’t miss out on quality family time. I brought out the big guns: Big knives for getting inside. Spoons, scoops and scapers for those gooey guts and paring knives for smaller detailed work. Get some tea light candles, pumpkin lights or glow sticks to light up the artwork in the end. The Fiveasaurus brought his own kit of safety carving utensils that were age appropriate. He was very content to work independently (but still closely supervised) on his own pumpkin for the contest. You can get one of those cool pumpkin carving kits
3. Have extra decorations on hand for variety. Things we have used: spider rings, fake eyeballs (these could potentially offer some comic relief if needed), miniature pumpkins, vampire teeth, and glow sticks. Let your imagination run wild!
4. Set up: Make a before and after spot for displaying the competitors’ artwork. Set up a fall scene using your soon to be carved pumpkins. I simply used an old spool which was high enough to showcase the intact pumpkins and arranged a few mums behind them for a pop of color. This can serve a dual purpose-a showcase for the competitors to choose a pumpkin and a selfie spot for your cute couples’ selfies! We also set up carving tables and of course snack tables. They each moved their jack-o-lanterns back to the spool for the final judging.
5. Get snacks! This could potentially come before pumpkins. Your carvers will get hungry and thirsty. The Sheriff built a bonfire for the roasting of hot dogs and marshmallows. We also had yummy Buffalo Chicken Dip and lots of Halloween candy on hand. Depending on how intense the competition gets, you may want to bring out the snacks in stages. We almost ran out of Buffalo Chicken Dip!
6. Recruit Judges and Have Prizes on hand. While the competition is going on, recruit others who are not carving to come judge the competitors final product and determine a winner. It would be great if you can find an unbiased individual to judge. Unfortunately for the millenials, the great grandmother was the judge and guess who’s pumpkin she picked as the winner? Yes, the Fiveasaurus. But that turned out to be great that he won, since he was the only one I bought a prize for anyway. Wink wink….
They all received Whiny Hiker Stickers for participating. They were soooo excited about that. Ranger Roberts took home a mum for an Honorable Mention Win of her old school design. We ended up with seven jack-o-lanterns to be judged.
7. Last but not least-Enjoy Family Time: Relax and relish your creation of a perfect night. Pull a chair up to the bonfire. Listen to some music played by whoever brings the guitar. (You know there’s always that Guy who always bring a guitar to the party.) Sing a campfire song. Fix a S’more. Eat a birthday cookie. Cuddle a baby. Soak it all in. It’ll be awhile until Thanksgiving.
Check out all of the entries in our contest in the gallery below. Let me know who you would’ve picked as a winner.
Thank you all so much for following along with all our shenanigans and misadventures. Stay tuned and find out what all us Guys get into. We are a growing family and enjoy our perfect times together. I have to give photo credits to the New Mom, my daughter in law. Not only has she created beautiful children for me to spoil, she took some awesome photos. You can see why we love Octobers in Tennessee!
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