It is no secret that pumpkins are fall’s favorite friend. The addition of pumpkin spiced lattes to menus signals the transition from summer to fall just as much as the arrival of cooler nights, Friday night football, and the changing leaves. However, this year, we are planning to get our fill of pumpkin through more than just our morning coffee run. Welcome the new season with these pumpkin-inspired goodies and activities.
Let Them Eat Cake
Before we dive headfirst into our ideas for how to best enjoy pumpkins this season, we will start with everyone’s favorite way: through food. How often does someone encourage you to eat cake for breakfast? Probably not enough, but this October, that is exactly what we want you to do.
Polly’s Pumpkin Bread
Polly’s Pumpkin Bread, affectionately nicknamed pumpkin cake because of its sweetness and classic Bundt shape, is a longtime favorite of a large Central Texas family. Whether you choose to serve it up next to a side of sweet potato hash, brown sugar bacon, or just another couple of slices, Polly’s Pumpkin Bread will hit the spot every morning this fall.
What you will need:
- 3 cups flour
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 can of pumpkin
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Start by sifting together the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir well until everything is combined.
- Pour the batter into a greased pan (either two loaf pans or one Bundt pan).
- Bake at 350°F for about an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!
Anyone in the family that provided this recipe will tell you that pumpkin cake for breakfast is best when slathered in butter and toasted in the oven for a couple of minutes.
It Is the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
We have all heard of (and probably participated in) a classic Christmas card photo shoot, but it is time to bring that tradition to October. Who said picking out pumpkins had to be boring? Skip the quick run to the grocery store and turn this typical task into a special occasion. Grab a camera, gather your people, and head to the local pumpkin patch! Whether you are bringing a slew of kids in matching outfits or a group of girlfriends looking for the perfect pumpkin to carve, you are sure to capture some sweet and fun moments on camera. This is a wonderful way to make memories with loved ones that will last long after the festive gourds and jack-o-lanterns are put away.
Coordinating outfits is part of the fun with this activity, so we have gathered some of our favorite pumpkin patch looks to share.
- All denim everything. Okay, maybe not everything, but nothing beats a good pair of jeans or a nice denim button-down. The cool blues will contrast with the bright orange all around and make for great photos.
- Fun with flannel. Nothing says fall quite like a flannel shirt. Not to mention, it is easy to find a variety of colors and styles for everyone in your group.
- Go neutral. Keep it simple with all blacks, whites, and grays. Whether it is a top, dress, or romper, everyone will already have that go-to basic in their closet.
Hit the Road Jack-O-Lantern
So, you are tired of the inevitable mess that comes along with carving pumpkins. Many people are. That is why we want to share some different ways to get your pumpkins party ready. These alternatives to carving faces and designs are more forgiving, kid-friendly, and long-lasting. (You can also keep them in more places than just the front porch.) After you have picked the perfect pumpkins, plan a day to decorate.
Painting pumpkins has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and this option gives you and your kids room to get more creative. You can paint small, sleek pumpkins in blacks, whites, and golds for your dining room table, all while your children paint fun faces with glow-in-the-dark paint. Acrylic paint and spray paint typically work best for this craft, and you can even use stencils or cutouts intended for carving.
Another alternative is to pick out a fall-themed fabric, wrap it around your pumpkins, and tie it off with burlap or another kind of ribbon. This is perfect if you want to avoid messy decorating altogether and works for just about any size pumpkin.
If you are okay with a little mess, try turning your pumpkins into planters for some colorful fall blooms. Start by cutting a hole in your pumpkin around the stem (the size will depend on the plant you choose), then hollow out the pumpkin just like you would if you were going to make a jack-o-lantern. Once you have it cleaned out, carve a small hole in the base for water drainage. Last but not least, add your soil and plant of choice, and it will be ready to go! You can make multiple planters in different sizes and colors, and they will work inside or outside all season long.
One of the inevitable parts of keeping pumpkins as decorations is that they will go bad at some point during the season. There are plenty of tips and tricks to keeping them around longer, but at some point, everyone will have to throw them out. However, there is nothing that says you cannot have fun doing it. As opposed to the trash can, we recommend the considerably more entertaining pumpkin smash. This is a super fun, energy-releasing activity for kids (and even adults) of all ages. Additionally, it is guaranteed to brighten up the task of changing decorations out for the approaching holidays.
There are a few ways you could go about this. However, the first thing you have to do is find any relatively open space. This could be someone’s backyard, an open field, or even a driveway. If you are near an elevated surface, you can take the approach of throwing the pumpkins to the ground from up high for a satisfying splat. If the ground is all you have to work with, bring along a couple of baseball bats or sledgehammers to do the job. Take turns until the pumpkins are gone. No matter where you do it, or which method you choose, invite some friends and enjoy this year’s pumpkins one last time.