Our Family at Halloween

Since the children were born, Halloween has always been a fun event that the children really look forward to.  Once the boy’s birthday is over mid October we start visiting local Halloween attractions.  We particularly love the National Trust trails, with one of our favourite being at Saltram House, our nearest, although others nearby that we would recommend are at Buckland Abbey and Cotehele which also offers pumpkin carving and is set by a river estuary with beautiful gardens.  All of them though are stunning on a sunny day and never let you down with the amazing plants throughout the gardens and always provide a peaceful, calm experience that is enjoyed by all the family!

The view above is of our walk around Saltram House gardens whilst doing the pumpkin trail.  I love the colour of the Autumn leaves and seeing them fallen to the ground across the lawn, the house is the perfect backdrop for this.

The trails at Saltram always keep the kids occupied whether they are inside or out.  The pumpkin trail was through the gardens and consisted of looking for letters of the alphabet in areas where there were pumpkins and then solving the anagram of letters to find a word.  The newly 8yr old Mister B exceeded in his word knowledge as usual and came up with the answer a mere 5 letters into the 8 letter word!!

One thing I love about National Trust properties is the appeal to both young and old.  Although my children don’t notice certain elements, I really appreciate things like this gorgeous Autumn wreath abundant with golden colours upon one of their doors.

As it gets closer to Halloween the children are keen to carve pumpkins so we always go pumpkin shopping together.  This year we’ve been particularly busy so ended up at our local supermarket and picked out some large pumpkins (this did require Miss M climbing over several giant boxes of them to uncover the best looking/shaped ones!).

Here are Mister B’s, Mummy’s and Miss M’s designs:

And in the dark:

Waste not want not!

As we carve our pumpkins we firstly scoop out the pulp which is filled with the seeds.  If you run this under cold water over a colander you’ll find the seeds separate really easily away from the pulp which is great if you wish to toast them.  After discarding the pulp, give the seeds a shake, allow them to dry for a while then lay them out on a baking tray.  Give them a good slug of olive oil, a generous sprinkle of salt and roast in the oven for half an hour or so until golden brown.  These make a delicious snack or a great addition to a bowl of soup.

Once the pulp and seeds are gone, we use an ice cream scoop to scrape out some of the flesh from around the edge.  We find quite a lot comes out and by making the pumpkin wall a little thinner it is easier to carve.  I then add the flesh to some fried onions, garlic and a few vegetable stock cubes and boil up in my extra large cooking pot until softened.  Then I use my hand blender to smooth into a thick, easy to eat, hearty soup. Serve with a good grinding of black pepper and a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds.

Once our tummies are filled with a warming bowl of soup it’s time to get out in the neighbourhood trick or treating.  Mister B doesn’t like the scary look so opted for the cute skeleton dress up this year whilst Miss M preferred a Dracula style image.

Despite several heavy downpours, nothing deterred these two from their Trick or Treating.  With a bag in hand to carry any treats they received, I have to say they did pretty well.  As well as a mega haul of sweets, they came back with a chocolate doughnut, a plastic spider and a freshly made spider cake (although this got devoured on the way round!).

What did your family get up to for Halloween?  Did your kids go Trick or Treating?

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