Frightful Delights This Halloween


 

As the nights are well and truly drawing in and summer begins to feel like a distant memory, up pops Halloween to add some excitement and colour to a mid-autumn night.

 

Its origins are much debated but there is a practical reason offered in some quarters, which suggests that, since it occurs at the start of winter - and with winter being a much darker and trickier time to navigate in times gone by - it was seen as the time where we were closest to the underworld. That would certainly explain the spooky goings on.

 

Whatever the reasoning behind it, Halloween has evolved greatly since it was first celebrated in the sixth century and there are still a few fundamentals that have lasted throughout this period. For instance, today the pumpkin, complete with a carved face or ghoulish landscape, is more popular than ever, with a leading supermarket saying they sold a whopping one million pumpkins in 2015 during Halloween.

 

This isn’t a new practice though, as the carving of vegetables can be traced all the way back to Pagan times, when children would carve potatoes and turnips to ward off evil spirits. We now see more and more photos of elaborately designed and carved pumpkins being shared every October 31st, with many people running and entering competitions to see their carving skills rewarded.

 

 

Why not try your own hand at creating the perfect pumpkin this Halloween? Here are our top tips:

 

1. Pick the right pumpkin - make sure your pumpkin is fresh and bruise-free with a good sturdy stem

 

2. Line up the lid - cut the opening at the top at an angle to prevent the lid falling through into the pumpkin once it’s hollow

 

3. All hollows eve - use an ice cream scoop to remove the inner flesh. To make carving the front easier, take it down to a thickness of 3-5cm

 

4. Cutting it - use a serrated edge knife, such as a bread knife, for the best cutting. Remember, you can do your best plastic surgeon impression by drawing the design on first with a marker

 

5. Waste not, want not - keep cut offs to make display props or to add extra eerie elements to the design

 

6. Spice up your life - sprinkle a bit of cinnamon inside the lid to turn the pumpkin into its own scented candle

 

Pumpkin Bag

 

Make sure you and the family look the part when you’re heading out this Halloween with these 100% cotton personalised bags. Solve arguments about who was given the most sweets by having all the little trick or treaters’ names printed on their own pumpkin-themed bags.

 

 

Halloween has been a major event across the pond for many years, with Americans spending more than four billion dollars each year on spooky celebrations. This has now found its way to the UK and Halloween is now ranked as the second biggest party night, only behind New Year’s Eve, with kids and adults alike up and down the country dressing up and heading out for ghoulish gatherings or going door-to-door ‘trick or treating’.

 

 

Dressing up to celebrate the evening isn’t a new thing, though - Scottish children dressed in fanciful outfits used to go door to door asking for sweets, apples and nuts for their Halloween parties as far back as the early 1800s. The term ‘trick or treat?’ has only existed since midway through the last century and thousands of children will be knocking on doors asking their neighbours that very question this October 31st.

 

 

Sweets

 

Treat even the biggest kids this Halloween with a personalised Retro Sweet Hamper full of former favourites including Flying Saucers, Drumstick Lollies and Dolly Bead Necklaces. These will go down a storm with kids and adults alike at your Halloween party, and makes sure that your house is known as the one that gives out the best treats on the street.

 

 

Halloween is also a great excuse to sit down with the family and get crafting, making some devilish decorations so your house stands out. Whilst it’s often messy, crafting your own festive decorations needn’t be too difficult and can be great fun. One simple craft idea we love involves a spot of recycling, too, by turning the centre of a toilet roll into a hanging monster, great for going above doors, windows and entranceways.

 

1. Collect as many toilet roll tubes as you can in the coming weeks

 

2. Get a set of multi-coloured poster paints and brushes, painting each one a vibrant colour - think greens, yellows, purples and oranges!

 

3. Then, simply affix googly eyes about three quarters of the way up

 

4. Now, for the teeth: cut out jagged white paper triangles to make some frightful fangs and stick 2cm underneath the eyes

 

5. Give the monster some arms by bending up a pipe cleaner on each side

 

6. String or strips of tissue paper make great hair

 

7. Now use a sharp pencil or scissors to make a hole at the top of the toilet roll tube and thread some string. Make sure you use enough to let it hang down from the ceiling or door frame at the right height. Then attach them all together and prepare to give somebody a fright.

 

Halloween is a fun time, whatever your age, and, with so many different ways to celebrate - from kids’ parties to more grown-up fancy dress affairs - there’s no reason why you can’t mark the night in a frightful fashion this October.