How to Host a Great Pumpkin-Carving Party

Nothing says “Happy Halloween!” quite like a row of jack-o-lanterns.

To make the holiday merry and bright, yours truly hosted a pumpkin-carving party for the children last weekend.

And as always, I have a few observations to share.


1. Never take a toddler to a second location.

This is a party, not a field trip, y’all! Especially if you have smaller children along, pick and purchase your pumpkins in advance. Set up a miniature pumpkin patch in the living room, if you must, but don’t expect parents to schlep their kids to your house then to a farm/corner lot/what have you, then back again. Of course, if it’s an adults-only party, caravan to your heart’s delight.


2. Clear the decks, then cover them with tarp.

You know what I love? Cheap orange tablecloths. On the tables, and also on the floors. Cleanup is as easy as making a giant, orange, plastic burrito and stuffing a couple of ’em into a garbage bag.

Also, put a big mixing bowl in the center of each table to hold all the gourd guts. Someone will want to fish out and toast the pumpkin seeds. Ignore this person.


3. Keep snacks simple.

Kids are often picky eaters, so don’t go overboard on the hors d’oeuvres. Hummus and veggies, plain fruits, crackers, juice — but be very careful about how much sugar you lay out for your younger guests.


4. Provide pumpkin-carving tools.

This is not a bring-your-own-knife situation, so lay out plenty of slicing and scooping equipment. IMPORTANT: If any kids at all are involved, keep the sharp stuff way out of reach, and lay out plenty of kid-friendly carving implements, which can be found at any grocery store.


5. Sharpies!

A few permanent markers will make everyone’s jack-o-lantern designing experience so much simpler, and the results so much prettier.


6. Wait until the last minute.

Carved pumpkins become mold havens in a matter of days. We’re talking two days. So plan your big soiree as close to Halloween as possible.


Here are a few more pictures from the party:

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