What to do with all those Pumpkins?

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After all that pumpkin picking, one big question remains. What to do with your fresh, plump pumpkin? Here are some tips after a fun-filled family outing at the pumpkin patch.

Roast the pumpkin seeds:

Here is a quick and easy way to turn the pumpkin into a very tasty treat.

1.  Rinse the pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings.

2.  Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. If you prefer, omit the oil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

3.  Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325 degrees farenheit until toasted which will take about 25 minutes. Check and stir after 10 minutes.

4.   Let them cool and store them in an airtight container. 

Decorate Your Pumpkin

Are you trying to bond with your kids by turning the pumpkin into a work of art? Help them carve it into a spooky decoration.

• Draw your design on the pumpkin with a water-based marker beforehand. Mistakes are erased easily with a damp sponge.

• Cut the top and any large areas with a sharp, straight-edged knife. A dull blade is not a safer alternative. Serrated metal saws, now widely available in carving kits, are a safer alternative to knives and allow younger children to get in on the action.

• Carve away from yourself. Children should carve only under adult supervision. Never hold the knife in a stabbing position.

• When carving, keep a portion of the knife blade in the pumpkin and use slow, steady saw strokes.

• Cut the lid at an angle so the outside diameter is larger than the inside. This prevents the top from falling into the pumpkin when it shrinks.

• Scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh with a large spoon or an ice cream scooper.

• Carve the facial features closest to the center first and work outward. Cut out the larger features in sections.

• Use an X-Acto knife for the finer details and the tip of a potato peeler to make small circles and curves.

• Remove carved portions by gently pushing them into or out of the pumpkin.

• Reattach a section that is accidentally removed by using a toothpick to pin it back in place.

• Make design holes large enough to provide adequate ventilation for the candle.

• Flatten a spot in the base of the pumpkin for the candle but avoid digging too deep because the pumpkin becomes prone to rot.

After you’re finished creating the scary specimen, it is time to light it up with a tealight candle for the whole neighborhood to admire. Be sure that the flame is not too close to the top of the pumpkin, and coat the cut surfaces with petroleum jelly or vegetable oil to preserve it.

If that sounds like it is too time-consuming for your busy lifestyle, you can paint the pumpkin instead of carving it up.

Make sure you select a pumpkin with as smooth a surface as possible. Coat it with multipurpose sealer before the paintjob begins. This will prolong the life of your creation.

After applying the sealer, the first step is to draw the design on the pumpkin with a Sharpie or a dry-erase marker. Then, with a soft, wide brush paint the large areas of the pumpkin first. Apply several coats if necessary to ensure an even look. Wait for the initial paint to completely dry, and then begin painting the details. A thinner brush would be useful for more intricate additions.

Paint the stem with glue and pour glitter over it and shake off the excess to create a sparkling stem. You can attach rhinestones, beads, buttons or any other small accessory with a hot glue gun. You can even use the hot glue to attach hats or animal ears made out of cardboard or a sturdy fabric.

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