Halloween is a time of costumes, haunted houses, hayrides and trick-or-treating, but did you know that the most visual sign of Halloween is the pumpkin? Many centuries ago, October 31st was a magical night when glowing jack-o-lanterns, carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits. Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light, later to be replaced by candles. Soon after, it was the Irish who decided it was much easier to use pumpkins since they were much larger and easier to carve. During the Halloween holiday, pumpkins are carved into jack-o-lanterns and put on porches and in yards for all to see. Today there are many different ways to decorate a pumpkin. When I was young we would just wing-it and carve out two triangle eyes, an upside down triangle nose and a big open smiling mouth with a couple teeth here and there. Now there are some really elaborate pumpkin carving stencils you can use to trace just about anything you like, scary or not, onto your pumpkin then start carving using pumpkin carving tools and following the lines you drew. If you'd rather not go through the mess of cleaning out a pumpkin to carve it, you can just paint a face or design right on the pumpkin shell. It's really easy and my niece loves to do it that way. The best part of carving a pumpkin in my opinion are the pumpkin seeds. It was a tradition in my house growing up that we would take the seeds, clean them, mix in a little olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper then broil them in the oven until they were crisp. I swear they are so good and taste just like popcorn! I kept the tradition going with my family and my children love them. Sometimes I think they carve their pumpkins just to get the seeds! If you're looking for some extreme pumpkin carving techniques and other decorating ideas check out some Halloween "how-to's" on the DIY Network. At HalloweenExpress.com we have some great pumpkin costumes for everyone from infants to adults. Tom Arma's Pumpkin Costume is adorable and any child would look so incredibly cute wearing it.
Then for toddlers we have our Plush Pumpkin Halloween Costume.
This year become one of the best known icon's for Halloween by turning yourself into a sweet or sinister pumpkin with a costume from Halloween Express!