Since October has rolled around and finally started to feel like fall, we’ve been really enjoying all the festive things that come with October; Halloween, spooky decor and lots and lots of pumpkins. Literally! Everywhere you go, you can buy a pumpkin. Whether it is a fake pumpkin or a real pumpkin, pumpkins are the official mascot of Halloween, right? That and Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus. With Halloween in just a few short weeks, I recently got together with a few close girlfriends and hosted our own pumpkin carving party to really get in the festive mood. This was the first pumpkin carving party that we’ve hosted, and throughout the process, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks so you throw an epic pumpkin carving party yourself.

Pumpkins!

This is probably the most obvious item on this list. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Leah, duh, of course you need pumpkins for an epic pumpkin carving party!” But, where do you shop for your pumpkins? As mentioned above, you can quite literally find some sort of pumpkin almost anywhere you go during the holidays. The first choice is to get pumpkins from a pumpkin patch. I mean, what is more ‘fall’ than going to your local pumpkin patch. But, more and more grocery stores offer incredible deals on their pumpkins. In fact, that is where we got all of the pumpkins for our home decor. We knew we wanted to geek out of Halloween this year and decorate our home a bit more than normal because this will be the last Halloween in our home as it is (more on that soon…).

Try Something New

When scrolling through Pinterest for creative ideas, you basically get sucked in and make a list of all the cool and clever ways you can decorate a pumpkin. Maybe you find a cute stencil and paint on your favorite character from your favorite comic book. Maybe you find unique push pins, like these wooden push pins, and design a pattern on the pumpkin using those push pins. A great idea I saw on the internet was using cookie cutters to add shapes & designs to your pumpkin. How simple, right? The options are endless as long as you explore your creativity. But, sometimes exploring your creativity can be overwhelming and rather than getting creative, you don’t try something new. I challenged myself to be happy with whatever I did – even if it was just a classic jack-o-lantern face.

Autumn Inspired Recipes

When you’re hosting an event during any specific season, you should always play into what is in season or available during that time. Finding recipes that don’t require a lot of prep or clean up is key. You’ll already be cleaning up what gets taken out of the pumpkins, so why not make it a little easier on yourself to make sure that the prep and time going into your event food doesn’t take up time with your friends or family. We went with a classic finger food choice – brushetta! One of my all time favorites is ricotta, bacon and honey. It is such a simple recipe but there is nothing simple about it.

For beverages, we used the delicious season mixer, Cranberry Thyme, from one of our favorite companies, Iconic Cocktail Co to make The Roy Roger. The Roy Roger was named after the most recognizable cowboy from 1930s. Like the Shirley Temple, this celebrity had a drink named after him that also happens to be made with a grenadine syrup. This simple recipe of cola and a cherry syrup can be elevated with three of Iconic’s handcrafted mixers. Instead of a cola, mix Ginga Syrup and Spiced Honey together to create similar flavors. Iconic’s seasonal mixer, Cranberry Thyme, is made like a traditional grenadine syrup but with a fall twist. This Halloween, dress your drink up like a cowboy.

The Recipe:

1oz Cranberry Thyme
3/4oz Spiced Honey
3/4oz Ginga Syrup
1/4oz lemon juice
5oz Sparkling Water
Maraschino cherry to top it off

Add all in a glass with sparkling water and ice. Stir to combine and garnish with maraschino cherry. Want it spiked? And 2oz of dark rum, vodka, or whiskey.

Carving Kits

Getting everything ready for your guests to make their pumpkin carving experience truly magical should be a must do list item. Rather than buying all of those carving kits from Halloween stores, hit up your local thrift store and stock up on a variety of tools. We loaded up on wooden spoons, knives and spatulas to keep our expenses low, recycle materials without buying brand new, and also offer tools that are actually a bit more sturdy for use. We also picked up some different cookie cutters from our local thrift store, which were a hit when creating shapes or cutting out specific designs. After all, an epic pumpkin carving party require epic carving tools. Be sure to throw in a couple of metal spoons from your kitchen drawer – the metal is great for the final scraping of the pumpkin guts.

We had such a blast hosting our very own epic pumpkin carving party with our friends, and hope it inspires you to host your own pumpkin carving party.