We just had our annual “Night Of The Jack-O-Lantern” and it consisted of pumpkin carving and a fun Halloweenie themed dinner! I thought I’d share it with you all because I have some incredible pumpkin carving hacks that will make the experience that much more enjoyable and make your carved pumpkins last longer too.
Plus, a spooky and fun Halloween themed dinner to boot? Yes please! It will bring the evening together in the most spooctacular way!
Grab those pumpkins and pull up a seat it’s time to get our carve on!!!
A Night Of The Jack-O-Lantern
Tips and Tricks for Pumpkin Carving
- Cut the bottom instead of the top! For years we have always cut the top open to clean out the pumpkin and I think that this is more common practice. Instead….cut the bottom. Why? It will give you a more clean finish and also not allow the top to start to rot as fast. Have you ever had the “hat” of the pumpkin start shrinking and rotting and fall right in?
- Use an electric kitchen mixer to clean out the inside of the pumpkin! This makes things go so much faster, especially with kids. Give the inside of your pumpkin a couple of good spins and then use a regular scoop to get all of the fine strands out.
- Use cookie cutters instead of stencils and regular old pumpkin carving kit knives! Cookie cutters will give you the perfect shapes and you can get them in place in the pumpkin by using a kitchen mallet. Did you know they even make cookie cutter pumpkin carving kits? Check them out!
- Sprinkle cinnamon inside the top of the pumpkin after you have cleaned all the guts and seeds out. So flip it upside down exposing the cut bottom and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon to keep it smelling fresh and act as a DIY potpourri once you light you candle to give it the Jack-O-Lantern affect.
- Rub Vaseline on all of the cuts you’ve made. This will help seal in moisture and it will make your pumpkin stay fresh faced longer!!
Spooktacular Themed Dinner
You can really set the theme of the night by pulling together this spin on a classic dish! Stuffed peppers ghoulish gourd style.
It is truly the easiest way to spookify your plate and the kids always get a huge kick out of these.
It is one simple extra step when preparing. Simply cut out some fun faces! But don’t cut too much because you don’t want to lose much of your stuffing in the pan.
Just enough that you can tell it’s a pumpkin party!
Make sure you pick up orange peppers. We prefer orange, yellow or red bell peppers over green in our house anyways! The curly stemmed tops make it seem even more like a pumpkin pick.
Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers
- Orange peppers
- Ground beef
- White rice
- Red sauce
- Shredded cheese
- Season to preference. I typically add in some garlic powder, basil and italian seasoning while cooking the beef.
- Cut the tops off of your peppers and clean out the seeds.
- Prepare your peppers by cutting in spooky faces. Not too large so that you will lose the stuffing during baking!
- Add to a pot of water and boil until slightly softened. You want them to be firm enough to stand upright! About 5 minutes. Drain.
- In a pan brown your ground beef and season, strain grease.
- Boil white rice in a separate pan.
- Combine white rice, sauce, beef and shredded cheese in a bowl. Add enough cheese to act as a sort of binder.
- Stuff your pumpkin peppers and top with a little sprinkle sauce and cheese!
- Bake for 10 minutes at 350 or until cheese is melted.
You can pair this dinner with a lot of sides but honestly we eat them just as is…nothing else added! You have it all in one stop.
They are really filling too! I wow myself every time I make these.
Also, it is a nostalgic meal for me. My mama use to make these often when I was a child and well, she loved Halloween time.
I remember her and I making scarecrows and ghosts to decorate the yard and whipping up warm meals for the fun inside too.
She loved putting together homemade costumes. Some of my fondest memories with her was during Halloween or Christmas.
The fun and magic of this time of year is something I hold very important in our life and now I make sure we celebrate it all here in our home with our children.
Here are some other activities you could incorporate into your evening to take even further into the next level of jack-o-lantern celebration!!!
- Pumpkin Elephant Toothpaste Experiment by Hello, Wonderful would be a blast if you were planning to carve outside. This experiment is extra messy but definitely very cool and well worth giving a shot!
- Real Guts Pumpkin Slime by Little Bins, Little Hands might sound a little overwhelming to do but it is only 3 ingredients and allows you to use/play with the pumpkin to its full potential!
- Pumpkin Steam Activities by Homeschool Preschool has a wonderful list that will keep children entertained and keep their minds curious all involving pumpkins. This is the perfect place to look for some of the younger kiddos around the table who might not be ready to carve!
I also wanted to mention that getting rid of those delicious seeds would be an absolute crime!!! Make sure you clean them out and roast them.
Looking for some direction? Maybe one of these recipes might catch your eye…
- How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
- Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds
- Air Fried Dill Pickle Pumpkin Seeds
- Everything Bagel Pumpkin Seeds
You Might Also Like…
- 46 Perfect Pumpkin Recipes for Fall
- Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup Recipe
- 36 FREE Pumpkin Carving Stencils for Spooky Halloween Jack O’ Lanterns
Love, light and a little grace…
Olivia Whalen is mama to three young girls who is devoted to creative learning, exploration and free range imagination. Olivia enjoys thinking outside of the box when it comes to preparing homemade baby food or meals for her family. She most enjoys allowing the little minds in her life to flourish and with that you will see her write about creative kid crafts, recipes that fit a family budget and keep everyone asking for more, tips and tricks for a tiny babe, and beginner homesteader fun! Some of her hobbies include gardening, hiking, reading, cooking or just basking in motherhood.