The tradition of carving Halloween lanterns originates from Ireland. However instead of pumpkins they used turnips or potatoes. It was when Irish immigrants arrived in America that they spotted the potential in pumpkins for lanterns.

Keep it local
Plenty of Hampshire growers have been busy caring for their pumpkin crops ready for the pumpkin season. Support your local grower and buy your pumpkin from one of these local farms:

Bourne Valley PYO 
Oaktrack Smallholding
Lyburn Farmhouse
Riverford – Norton Park Farm
Sunnyfields (pictured)

If you need a hand carving your pumpkin take it along to Winchester City Mill's carving days on 25 & 27 October for some help from the experts, find out more.

Pumpkin Day with Riverford
There’s plenty of pumpkin themed fun for all the family at Norton Park Farm on Saturday 29th October. Tickets must be booked in advance.

Pumpkins can be used to make delicious pies, soups, cakes, breads, risottos and more!

Hampshire based food writer and blogger, Tim McMinn shares his own recipe for Roasted Pumpkin Soup.  

Save the seeds!
Rather than throwing those seeds away give them a rinse and pick out the largest ones ready to plant for next year’s Halloween. Save more seeds than you need as not all will germinate. Once rinsed pop them on some kitchen towel and leave to dry in a cool spot for one week. Once they are dry store them in an envelope ready for planting.

Pumpkin planting
When? Plant between the last week of May the middle of June directly into the ground.

Choose a sunny, sheltered spot and improve the soil before planting by digging in a well-rotted manure or compost. Sow two seeds on their side 2.5cm (1 inch) deep and once they have germinated remove the weakest one.

Water regularly and as the pumpkins get bigger raise them up onto a piece of wood or brick to protect them from rotting. Remove any leaves shading the fruit as it needs maximum light to ripen.

Wait patiently for 90 to 120 days for your pumpkins to grow and pick in October time ready for Halloween 2017!