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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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5. Sharpies!

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

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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.

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Here are a few more pictures from the party:

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