As with many families, Halloween is a much anticipated time for our boys. This year we really celebrated the pumpkin. My mother (a.k.a. Memere) always grows pumpkins to share, and she outdid herself this year by producing gigantic ones. Paul typically is in charge of pumpkin carving at our house (yay!), so he and the guys got down to business right before Halloween.
We were all impressed with the results of the carving efforts. Check out the extra decorations on Sam’s jack 0 lantern! We all thought that his was the scariest.
We always save the seeds from our jack o lanterns to make toasted pumpkins seeds. After separating the seeds from the “guts” and washing them well, they were ready for the toasting process. The big pumpkins yielded equally large seeds which was fun. The first step was to parboil them in salted water. After boiling for about 10 minutes, the seeds were drained, dried, placed on a baking sheet, and baked in the oven. I stirred them every few minutes during toasting to ensure even browning. After 35 mintutes or so (I think these big seeds took a longer time than smaller ones to cook), they were golden brown and ready to take out of the oven.
The seeds were perfectly crispy, salty, and toasty. The recipe/method for the seeds can be found here if you are interested.
Just to liven things up a little, I decided to try my hand a candying some of the pumpkins seeds. It seems like this should be harder than it really is, and I can’t believe I haven’t been doing this every year. It only requires two ingredients: toasted pumpkin seeds and sugar!
When they were super hot and starting to get a bit more toasted, I poured in the sugar. Working quickly, I mixed the sugar with the seeds as it started to melt and caramelize. When the sugar was golden brown and completely coating the seeds, I dumped them onto a cookie sheet.
After cooling down, I was able to break up any big clumps of seeds. I love the combination of salty and sweet and these really hit the mark. The rest of the family agreed, too! You can find the recipe here if you are interested.
Our fourth and final iteration of the pumpkin theme was provided by Tommy. His choice for a Halloween costume this year was a pumpkin! I’m thinking that this may be the last year of “cute” costumes for Tommy, so I didn’t hold back on the cuteness factor when putting together this costume. The best sewing pattern I could find only came in toddler sizes, but I was easily able to adapt it to fit Tom.
Sam’s costume changed many times before he finally settled on what he was going to be. For a long time he was going to be “Sam I Am” from Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, but while shopping one day we found a firefighter costume that we both fell in love with. So, for a while he was going to be a firefighter. Then, I made the mistake of taking out the box of dress-up clothes that also contains old Halloween costumes. Once he saw last year’s costume he was determined that he would once again be a furry, red, scary, monster. And so he was.
This year’s Halloween was a beautiful evening for trick or treating. The boys all looked great and had a good time. Sam was adorable. I think he ran the whole night! He was determined to keep up with his brothers and very dedicated to the task of gathering candy.
All in all it was a successful Halloween and celebration of the pumpkin!