You know those little pumpkins you practically trip over in the supermarket this time of year? It turns out: they're good for more than just Instagram props. With, like, no work, they make a really tasty pumpkin butter you’ll want to have in the fridge all year long. I’m talking about pumpkin butter with the magical spice flavor of pumpkin pie, but simple, less sweet and much more, well, pumpkin-y.
That there triceratops? Made totally of pumpkins. Well, and some welded steel armatures, I'm sure, but the body and details? All actual squash. It's one of several pieces from this year's "The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze" in
I haven't carved a pumpkin in years. I didn't really like doing it as a kid, and I especially don't like doing it now. Will I clean a sugar pumpkin out and cook with it? Absolutely. But a decorative job? For some reason...not for me.
Which is why I'm especially appreciative when some inspired home squash
Vancouver, WA-based designer and programmer Nathan Pryor asks, "What do you get when you combine a pumpkin with the classic video game Tetris? Pumpktris! Fully playable, embedded in a pumpkin."
Oh, and get this: the pumpkin's stem acts as the joystick.
Artist and designer Noah Scalin of Skull-A-Day provides a detailed tutorial for carving this clever take on the Jack-O-Lantern.
Once you've made your way through ManMade's picks for our favorite fall beers, it's time to turn to something even more season specific: pumpkin beer. These seasonals are brewed "in all sorts of ways--using raw, roasted, macerated, or juiced pumpkins, and sometimes with pumpkin extract or flavoring added post-production."
And, then, the most important question: how do they taste?
I'll say it: fall is the best season for beer. That magical time of mid-September, October, November, and December where brewers get to uncorked their months of work and see what time has wrought. It's when beer tastes its most beer-y: bitter, spiced, and oh-so-aromatic.
Over the summer, Jaclyn and Melissa spied the watermelon keg project right here on ManMade, and immediately made one for themselves. And when fall rolled around, they figured out a way to adapt it to this seasons', um, giant, round, open on the inside thing: the pumpkin.
There's a somewhat famous pumpkin festival about an hour from my house, which came very highly recommended when I first moved to the city six years ago. It's standard fair and festival stuff: touring food trailers and games, local non-profits and faith communities fundraisers, student art, etc. It's kinda crazy and kitschy and pretty awesome, and certainly worth a visit. But, after a few years, my attendance slowed: mostly 'cause all we'd do is stand around and eat mediocre food that's really bad for you, look at the cloggers, get stuck behind the parade, and stand in line for forty-five minutes for some seriously tasty, piping hot fresh pumpkin doughnuts, the highlight of the festival if you ask anyone.
So, this year, we decided to skip the drive and the parking fiasco and the food-on-sticks, and just make pumpkin doughnuts at home.
And they were incredible.
Each Halloween season, I allow myself one 'cool pumpkin carving' post. I've been collecting ideas all month, and they've just been sitting there at the end of my tabs list, hoping to be chosen.
Then, this morning, I saw the work of sculptor Ray Villafane, and I closed them all.
Even if I carved a jack-o-lantern this year, I dunno where I'd put it in my house. It'd have to sit on the floor somewhere, out of sight, making it not worth the effort. (Which, as you might guess...is why they don't get carved at my house.)
But, a family of tiny little gourds with oversized fangs and eerie red eyes. Those I can handle.
It's September, friends, and for many, that means the return of the fall favorites, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Though rumor has it that you can actually get these year 'round if you just ask, they're certainly just right for autumn time, and the kind of thing you wanna drink this time of year. And it turns out, you can make them at home. So, whether you want to enjoy instead of braving the blustery autumnal winds, or wanna save some serious cash, you can whip some up any day of the week, at home and on the cheap.
Each year, a UCC congregation in my neighborhood hosts a massive pumpkin sale to help send children to camp. While their urban parking lot may not be as festive as an out-in-the-sticks Pick Your Own patch, the charitableness and convenience can't be beat. Yesterday, post-Trick-or-Treat, I noted the sign had changed to "Free Pumpkins!" I snatched up four of the remaining 100 or so, and made quick work of cleaning them out and trying more of this year's favorite roasted pumpkin seed recipes.
Looks like I'm headed back there today, cause I just figured out how to turn one into a camera.
NPR's All Tech Considered blog takes a look at Noel Dickover, a hobbyist pumpkin carving master, who's created some amazingly detailed Star Wars themed jack-o-lanterns. "For Halloween and Star Wars geeks alike, it's truly a harmonic convergence of awesomeness."
As Noel says, "There's a difference between carving a pattern on a pumpkin, and a pumpkin sculpt. In the case of R2-D2, or the Deathstar, for instance, the pumpkin "is" the object, not just a portrait. So in thinking about carving R2-D2, I absolutely had to have a fairly tall, completely cylindrical looking pumpkin. I found one that weighed in at right around 40 lbs. Without this, there's no way I could have gotten the detail I was looking for."
Four our money the pumpkin is kinda like the most diverse food ever - you can carve scary faces into them, you can bake inside them, you can make lanterns out of them, you can cook the flesh into both savory and sweet dishes, you can decorate with them, and our favorite - roast the seeds into an unbelievable, healthy snack, that, if you've already bought the pumpkins, is totally free.
Sometime around the late 80s and early 90s, the Halloween scene got knocked on its head. Publishers released pumpkin carving pattern-and-tool books, and jack-o-lanterns went from simple triangle-based faces to full on cackling witches and haunted house scenes.
And we are all thankful...except in the fifteen years that followed, every home started using these patterns, making these newer more complex scenes just as ubiquitous as their predecessors.
Thankfully, in the last few years, DIY stencil creation has gone through a revolution of sorts, and you can now create detailed custom pieces without need to buy a book at all.