Halloween or ‘All Hallows eve’ is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. It probably has it roots in a pagan festival (as all the most fun ones do) celebrating the end of the harvest season, taking stock of produce and preparation for winter.
Worth its weight in gold
Halloween has links to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”). The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. Carved pumpkins or turnips made into lanterns ‘Jack ‘O’ Lanterns’ were made to scare away evil spirits from the home or just an excuse to scare anyone for passing amusement. Rob Wilson, an avid allotment disciple, recently joined the Giant Vegetable Growers Club. The club meets on the third Wednesday of every month and is by invite only. Things get very competitive in the giant veg world. The chair of the group warned him ‘Giant vegetables can take over your life.’
Giant Vegetable’s ‘R’ us
Rob grew a giant Russian pumpkin grown with special seeds from Russia – courtesy of Ebay – and he set about making a supersize Halloween lantern out of it. This is a sister pumpkin to his third prize winning pumpkin in this year’s giant vegetable category of the local show. The Russian pumpkin, as large as a hippo’s head, was relatively easy to carve, not being as tough skinned as the orange ones usually used for the purpose. It’s flesh was bright and sweet and tasted a bit like a Galia melon! A scary face template was acquired, of which there are thousands on the web, and some makeshift pumpkin carving tools were rustled up from handy household items.
Pumpkin construction kit
A chisel, a fret saw and some assorted kitchen knives were assembled. We also needed a flip chart marker to trace the face template onto the surface of the pumpkin. In the end one pointy vegetable peeling knife did the job and one scary set of eyebrows and mouth full of razor teeth later, and the charming creation was complete.
Maxilla Facial Surgery
The insides of the pumpkin were chopped up and made into pumpkin soup which has got to be the easiest tasty soup ever. Pumpkin, onions, pepper, stock and a few secret ingredients (which for my soup were roasted curry powder and bacon) all boiled up together whizzed with the blender and Bob’s your Uncle (or perhaps Jack in this instance) Top with a swirl of sour cream and it is truly delicious! You can put your Halloween lantern on your doorstep to indicate you are willing to be visited by the Trick or Treaters on Halloween itself, but bear in mind you have to give them stuff and kids won’t take any old rubbish these days. Or you can just enjoy your very own additional fire hazard in the comfort of your own home. Sherbet the cat didn’t know quite what to make of the unearthly visitor…