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Halloween Pumpkin Possibilities: Pumpkin Primer

Turn your pumpkin into the star of the show with these tips on getting the most out of your gourd!

1. The Seeds:

Once you’ve removed all seeds from your pumpkin, give them a good swish in cold water to remove the stringy pulp, then let the seeds dry on a clean dish towel. (An extra step that ensures even roasting: First boil the cleaned, drained seeds in salty water for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse again.) Once ready for roasting, consider the seeds a blank canvas. Drizzle the seeds with oil (canola or other flavorless for the Sweet, olive oil for Savory) on a baking sheet, then toss with seasonings and roast at 325°F for 20-25 minutes (start checking the sweet versions at 15 minutes) or until lightly golden and fragrant. Ideas for seasoning include:

Sweet:
  • Cinnamon-Sugar – a classic flavor combination.
  • Pumpkin Pie-flavored pumpkin seeds? Why not? Sprinkle the seeds with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. You can make your own pumpkin pie spice by mixing 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cloves and ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg.
  • Salted Caramel – Drizzle with caramel sauce, then sprinkle with flaked sea salt.
  • Honey Sriracha – Stir together honey and a bit of sriracha sauce (the more, the spicier!), then use to coat the seeds.
  • Maple-Glazed – Stir together maple syrup and a touch of vanilla extract; drizzle over seeds. Once tossed, dust with a pinch of kosher salt.
Savory:
  • Garlic Parm – Sprinkle with garlic salt and grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Ranch – Sprinkle with dry Ranch seasoning mix. Use sparingly to avoid overly salty seeds.
  • Curry – Sprinkle with a mixture of curry powder, ground turmeric and ground cumin along with a touch of salt.
  • Bacon – Cut a few strips of bacon into smaller pieces and lay over seeds. Roast as directed. When seeds are roasted and bacon is fully cooked, crumble bacon over seeds, stirring to mix well.
  • Taco-Lime – Sprinkle with taco seasoning (an envelope of premixed seasoning works well, or combine your own blend of chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano and a bit of salt), then drizzle with lime juice. Toss to mix before roasting.
2. The Party:

Why limit your Halloween celebration to one day? Extend your Halloween festivities by bringing friends together a week before the big day for a Jack-o-Lantern Carving Party.

Pick a day or evening that works for those on your guest lists, then send out pumpkin-shaped invites. Ask guests to bring their perfect pumpkin and let them know you’ll have all they need to transform it into a Halloween-worthy jack-o-lantern.

Tools of the trade.

  • Lay a stack of newspaper out over your work surface.
  • Pencils and markers will allow guests to trace their designs before cutting. You can also offer stencils, if you’d like.
  • Sharp knives. Dull knives are harder to work with and can more easily cause injury. (That said, keeping a stash of Band-Aids and a first-aid kit close by is also a good idea.)
  • Small votive candles (battery-operated or the traditional wick candle) for the carved jack-o-lanterns.
  • Bowls for the seeds, which you can rinse, dry and season once jack-o-lanterns are carved.

Music - Halloween-themed songs are easy to find in any online cloud library. Some favorites:

  • This is Halloween (Danny Elfman, 1993)
  • Monster Mash (Bobby “Boris” Pickett, 1962)
  • I Want Candy (The Strangeloves, 1965)
  • Sugar (The Archies, 1969)
  • Thriller (Michael Jackson, 1986)
  • Superstition (Stevie Wonder, 1972)
  • Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr., 1984)

View Party Plan: Have a Frightfully Fantastic Halloween!

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