October 13, 2020

By: Emilie Lapointe

Now that we are firmly planted in the fall season and Halloween is right around the corner, it’s time to start checking off activities from the fall bucket list. This season always feels like a fresh start and it invites a whole host of new, fun activities – apple picking, hiking, pumpkin carving, baking and cozying up with hot apple cider and spooky films!

My perfect day in Oakville consists of some time in the multi-coloured outdoors followed by some time spent at home indulging in some of my favourite seasonal comforts and traditions. Cristan Farms, a local food market, is the perfect place to shop, explore the grounds outdoors and collect supplies for a Halloween night in!

Cristan Farms is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and carries so much local produce, there’s something for every taste! They carry gourds, pumpkins, fresh vegetables, jams and spreads, mulling spices, apple cider, pies and so many varities of apples grown directly behind the shop in their orchard!

When it comes to holidays this year, one of the ways to provide some sense of normalcy is to still uphold your traditions with a few tweaks. While a pick-your-own pumpkin patch or apple orchard might not be in your comfort zone, heading out to a local market like Cristan Farms to grab some items and host your own at-home pumpkin carving is both safe and fun!

For me, a carving needs two things (other than the obvious, pumpkins): a steaming mug of warm apple cider and those Pillsbury cookies with the pumpkins on them! As a baker, it may be blasphemous to buy a store bought cookie, but those always bring me back to being a kid and carving at home.

What you’ll need for an at-home carving party:

  1. Carving tools – Regular knives will work, but most grocery stores and dollar stores carry pumpkin carving kits with several sizes of serrated tools that make it easier
  2. Pumpkins – Large, small, bumpy, misshapen… All pumpkins are good pumpkins
  3. A spoon, clean hands, and a bowl – Getting the guts out is no easy task and you’ll likely need to scrape and claw at the pumpkin’s innards before being able to discard in your bowl
  4. A blanket or tablecloth – Things can get messy!
  5. A Halloween playlist – Dancing to This is Halloween while carving is part of the fun
  6. Treats – I’ll keep this vague because the possibilities are endless! Pinterest is filled with creative themed ideas. Grab some cider, get to baking and really indulge

Admittedly, it’s been a few years since I’ve been able to carve pumpkins so my skills were a little rusty. I opted for a classic Jack-O-Lantern style carving, but a simple Pinterest search will result in hundreds of clever carving ideas, stencils to print off and utilize and even carve-free options with paint. Go classic or go creative! The whole process from gathering the supplies to admiring your final product is enjoyable and will put you in the spirit this season.

Check out my end result: