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Smashing pumpkins: your guide to the orange gourds and where to find them this October

Ashleigh Arnott

Strangers ringing your doorbell after dark is never much fun, especially when they keep demanding mini Mars Bars. Fancy dress isn’t for everyone. But pumpkin carving is one Halloween tradition that we can all get behind – wholesome, cheap, creative and makes for a cracking social media post afterwards (even if in reality you #nailedit).

The vegetable canvas for your autumnal artwork can in fact be hand-picked, though you will need a car – Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch (Oct 24-31) is a 30-minute walk from Upminster station and pumpkins are heavy, especially if you can’t resist choosing the biggest one in the field. 

If you’ve got youngsters keen to do the scooping and knife-wielding for you it’s only fair to let them enter Fortnum and Mason’s Children’s Pumpkin Carving Event, (Oct 29, £20). Kids aged up to 10 will be given a pumpkin on which to carve their own design, with the best winning a Halloween hamper.

Big kids (aged 18 or over, that is) can sign up for Pumpkin Carving at Drink, Shop & Do (Oct 29, £10) where they’ll not only be given a pumpkin and all the tools they need to craft its face but also a free Halloween cocktail, which should help with the creativity. Do watch those fingers, though.

But once the candles have burned out and their faces have started to wrinkle, what is to be done with our seasonal friends? Find out at the north London Pumpkin Rescue Festival (Oct 26-Nov 7), which is hoping to re-use or recycle at least some of the one million-odd pumpkins bought in the UK in the run up to Halloween each year. Join a cookery session, find out where and how to compost leftovers or simply help out by eating some delicious pumpkin soup.

Don't fancy pumpkin carving? Get tickets for one of these ace Halloween parties.

And if you're not sure what to wear, take a look at the best Halloween costumes you can hire in London.

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