Autumn is here! Which means the nights are getting longer, the days are getting crisper and plump orange orbs are starting to pop up around London. Yep, pumpkin season is upon us, but these spherical squashes aren’t just for Halloween. Don’t sit in your kitchen spooning soggy pumpkin innards from your supermarket-bought squash just for one night of trick or treating. From pumpkin-picking in countryside patches and hunting for the orange veggies on autumnal walks to prosecco-fuelled carving seshes and waste-free pumpkin cooking classes, there are plenty of ways to achieve your squash goals this year. Here are our favourite ways to make the most of pumpkin season 2019.
RECOMMENDED: Halloween in London
Pumpkin picks for Halloween 2019
Make your way to West Surrey for a day of squash selection at Crockford Bridge Farm. Pick-your-own fruit season has come to an end, making way for the great pumpkin harvest. The patch at Crockbridge is crowded with everything from Atlantic Giants to munchkin-style ghost pumpkins, so you’ll have a whole mismatched family of jack-o’-lanterns in the making. Remember, never carry your squash by the stalk or you’ll be explaining a pumpkin-related foot injury in A&E.
Crockford Bridge Farm, New Haw Rd, KT15 2BU. Addlestone rail. Sat Oct 12-Sun Oct 13. Free entry, pay by weight.
Booze and sharp objects aren’t the wisest of combos, but Drink Shop & Do are throwing caution to the wind with a series of champagne-fuelled pumpkin-sculpting seshes. The bar has partnered with Veuve Clicquot, no less, so you can show off your skills while sipping on bubbly at its Sparkling Pumpkin Carving class. If you want to splash out, hit up the Bottomless Pumpkin Carving Brunch where there will be unlimited bubbles, Bloody Marys, beers and wickedly delicious things on sourdough toast. The Halloween tunes will be pumping and materials will be provided; maybe hold off on that third glass of fizz if you don’t want to get half-cut.
Drink, Shop & Do. Tube: King’s Cross.
Sparkling Pumpkin Carving. Mon Oct 14-Oct 31. £16.
Bottomless Pumpkin Carving Brunch. Oct 19-27. £38.
Around October, the fruity symbol of Wimbledon transforms, Cinderella-style, from the delicate strawberry to the rough and ready pumpkin. Just off Wimbledon Park Road, you’ll find a patch of grass that looks like a field of decapitated scarecrows. Wimbledon Pumpkin Picking Patch opens for business on October 18, with its own onsite Pumpkin Café. Borrow one of the wheelbarrows and give a needy gourd its forever home.
Wimbledon Park Rd, SW19 7HX. Tube: Wimbledon Park.
Oct 18-31. £2.50 entry, pumpkins start at £2.
Always check opening hours before visiting.
Visit www.pumpkinpickingpatch.com for details.
Follow an orange trail of pumpkins through the grounds of Osterley House, an eighteenth-century mansion in Hounslow. The Halloween Pumpkin Festival is aimed at kids, but at this time of year it’s worth a visit to see all 350 acres of its parkland swimming in yellow, orange and amber leaves. Pick your own squash, join a carving session (11 am to 4pm) and toast a marshmallow on a fire. It’s a family day out, so the pumpkins will be the only ones getting smashed.
Osterley Park and House. Tube: Osterley. Oct 19-27. £4.
Fancy yourself as the Rodin of the squash world? Get whittling at Mudchute Farm’s Pumpkin Carving and Costume Competition to see how your carving skills match up to other Londoners’. Bring your own pumpkin and tools, or pick one up along with a carving kit on the day. You’ll be up against seasoned slicing pros to be crowned king or queen of the carving bonanza. There’s also a prize for best-dressed carver.
Mudchute Park and Farm. Mudchute DLR. Sat Oct 26. Free (limited places on a first come, first served basis).
Stop! Don’t throw away all that juicy pumpkin pulp from the middle of your newly carved lantern. Find out how to make it into a filling for handmade tortelli and ravioli with a pasta cookery class at Mercato Metropolitano, a market in Elephant & Castle. You’ll learn to prepare, knead and stretch the pasta dough and turn it into sweet little Halloween parcels.
Mercato Metropolitano. Tube: Elephant & Castle. Oct 17. £30.
Get Autumn ready
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