Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

#13 Fun Things To Do With Your Family This Weekend October 22, 2008

Is it coincidence? This issue of Fun Things To Do With Your Family This Weekend is “lucky” number 13, and the theme is spooooky Halloween!

Host a Pumpkin Carving Party!

This weekend is the ideal time to host your very own Pumpkin Carving Party! Jack-o-lanterns can only survive 5-7 days once cut, so with only a week left until Halloween, let the festivities begin! Did you know that, botanically speaking, pumpkin is a fruit? Grown on every continent but Antarctica, the pumpkin was once thought to be a cure-all for freckles and snakebites. Here are some tips for hosting your pumpkin party!

  • Fill a wheelbarrow with pumpkins and place it by the door so guests can choose a pumpkin to carve as they come to the party. (Crunched for time? Have guests bring a hollowed pumpkin with them to the party!)
  • Choosing the perfect specimen: Examine the pumpkin’s rind; It should be firm, uniform in color, and free of cuts, bruises, and blemishes. Give the pumpkin a knock; A thumping sound means the pumpkin is solid, with no internal defects, rot, or soft spots.
  • Decorate Halloween themed brown paper bags–Make enough for each guest. Fill each bag with inexpensive pumpkin-carving tools, a tea light, and a permanent black marker. (Or substitute poster paints, if your party guests are very young.)
  • If using a candle to illuminate your pumpkin, you can create the smell of Halloween spice by sprinkling cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice on the underside of the jack-o’-lantern’s lid. Once lit, the pumpkin will create a wonderful scent.
  • Download free pumpkin carving patterns and have several copies on hand.
  • Create a centerpiece using a large pumpkin surrounded by colorful autumn leaves. Use a drill to make holes around the top and sides of the pumpkin, and fill the holes with caramel apples or lollipops for guests to enjoy!
  • Cover your work surface with newspapers or a vinyl tablecloth.

Party music to carve by…

  • “Beetlejuice: Main Titles,” composed by Danny Elfman
  • “Ghostbusters,” Ray Parker Jr.
  • “In the Midnight Hour,” Wilson Pickett
  • “I Put a Spell on You,” Nina Simone
  • “I Want Candy,” Bow Wow Wow
  • “Spooky,” the Classics IV
  • “That Old Black Magic,” Ella Fitzgerald
  • “Thriller,” Michael Jackson
  • “Werewolves of London,” Warren Zevon
  • “Witchcraft,” Frank Sinatra

Bone up on Halloween Safety Tips for Moms and Dads.
WIN up to $15,000 in prizes at Pumpkin Master’s Carving Contest! (Check out their Contest Winners page for ideas!)

Gourmet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds 

Once you’ve separated all the seeds from the ooey-gooey, stringy inside of your pumpkin, roast them seasoned with these fabulous spice combinations! Roasted pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber as well as vitamins B and E, and kids love them–but be sure to share them with Grandma and Grandpa, too!

  • Roasted pumpkin seeds promote prostate health, thanks to the carotenoids and the omega-3 fats which are currently being studied for their potential prostate benefits.
  • Zinc is one further nutrient found in pumpkin seeds that might positively impact prostate function.
  • Zinc found in pumpkin seeds also decreases the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Pumpkin seeds have been recently investigated for anti-inflammatory benefits in arthritis.
  • Pumpkin seed phytosterols dramatically reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers. 

 Click here for the full recipe.
(Visit my other blog, UnassumingFoodie.com for more great kid-friendly recipes!

Future Environmentalists Club

Recycle Your Halloween Pumpkin! When Halloween is over, don’t just throw away those jack-o-lanterns! Kimberly Danger has some great ideas to make use of every last bit of your pumpkin.

Make Baby Food. Halve and roast your pumpkin, then scoop out the flesh. Mash well with a fork. (Begin with an organic pumpkin, preferably.)
Use it as a Harvest Planter. For pumpkins that were painted inside of carved, scoop out the inside membrane and clean. Fill with a little water and use as a vase. Fill the vase with natural twigs, grasses, and harvest mums for a beautiful autumn centerpiece.
Make a Pumpkin Bowl. Scoop out the inside membrane and clean. A typical pumpkin holds up to a gallon of soup or an entire casserole and adds flavor, too. Smaller pumpkins can be used for individual-sized bowls.
Make Pumpkin Puree. Pumpkin puree is the basis for many great bakery goodies. It will stay fresh in your freezer for months. Cut pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds. Chop into big chunks and place in a baking pan peel side down. Cover with foil. Bake 2-3 hours at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, scoop the pulp out of the peel. Puree in a food processor to reduce stringiness. Freeze excess pumpkin puree for later use. (See Kimberly’s website for recipes for Pumpkin pudding and pumpkin bread, using your fresh puree!)

“By raising our children with a strong sense of respect and reverence for Earth, we help ensure that there will be adults to step into ecological leadership positions.”–Helen Coronato, author of  Eco-Friendly Families, 

*Submit your family’s fun weekend activities—The best ones will be featured here!
Looking for more weekend ideas? Click here for Fun Things To Do archived entries

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3 Responses to “#13 Fun Things To Do With Your Family This Weekend”

  1. […] rjlacko wrote an interesting post today on#13 Fun Things To Do With Your Family This WeekendHere’s a quick excerptThis weekend is the ideal time to host your very own Pumpkin Carving Party! Jack-o-lanterns can only survive 5-7 days once cut, so with only a week left until Halloween, let the festivities begin! Did you know that, botanically speaking … […]

  2. […] rjlacko wrote an interesting post today on#13 Fun Things To Do With Your Family This WeekendHere’s a quick excerptOnce lit, the pumpkin will create a wonderful scent. Download free pumpkin carving patterns and have several copies on hand. Create a centerpiece using a large pumpkin surrounded by colorful autumn leaves. … […]

  3. […] rjlacko wrote an interesting post today on#13 Fun Things To Do With Your Family This WeekendHere’s a quick excerptThis weekend is the ideal time to host your very own Pumpkin Carving Party! Jack-o-lanterns can only survive 5-7 days once cut, so with only a week left until Halloween, let the festivities begin! Did you know that, botanically speaking … […]


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