A very British Halloween

Discover tips for choosing the perfect pumpkin and how we celebrate Halloween in Britain today

Although Halloween was invented in Britain, our American neighbours have claimed it as their own – BUT, we’ve begun to bring it home. Here’s our guide to all things Halloween and how to make your spooky pumpkin stand out from the crowd.

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Halloween Vs Bonfire night

With less than a week between our two Autumnal celebrations, you can see why families tend to celebrate one over the other, but recently the tide has shifted from fireworks and bangers on November 5th, to face masks and apple bobbing on October 31st. In fact in 2012 we spent £268m celebrating Halloween compared to £2.1m in 2001!

THEN & NOW

Although pumpkin carving has always been popular, now we’ve adopted the American traditions of trick & treating, fearsome fancy dress & even ghoulishly themed food… witches-finger biscuits anyone?! Along with buying fun costumes for the kids, we’re also stocking the cupboards with sweet treats in anticipation of all the visitors we’ll get to our own doorsteps too – in fact we’ve got lots of great deals to help your pennies to go a bit further:

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    • Co-operative Mallow bones (filled with jammy red ‘blood’),

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    • Gruesome eyeballs

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    • Spiders nests (foil-wrapped chocolate balls)

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    • Halloween-themed Chocolate lolly 3-pack

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    • all for just £1 each.

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  • a 750g tin of Swizzles sweet shop favourites for only £4

For more Halloween deals click here

If you do fancy throwing your own scary party, try to get imaginative with your usual buffet fare. Wrapping strips of pastry around our Co-operative Truly Irresistible chipolatas before baking turns them into mummies. Guacamole makes a great gruesome dip with breadstick ‘fingers’ (a squirt of ketchup makes tasty blood!). Serve mini mugs of minestrone soup in place of witches brew, and sprinkle mozzarella ‘ghosts’ on top of homemade pizzas (our Co-operative Tomato and garlic pasta sauce and garlic pizza breads are an easy cheat) – with sliced black olives for eyes. To finish? Cheat with packs of our brand new Halloween Chocolate chip muffins, in  bright orange cases topped with green icing.

For more Halloween party ideas ‘including spooky Halloween wine labels’ click here

OUR TOP CARVING TIPS

Tool up. Our Co-operative Pumpkin carving kits are just £2 but will make light work of even the knobbliest veg!

Choose your pumpkin wisely – misshapen specimens could make your monster even uglier, crinkles and lines become witches wrinkles… and the bigger, the easier to carve. Our large pumpkins are available in stores now – 2 for £5! while stocks last

Keep your pumpkin alight – want to leave yours to welcome guests while you’re out trick and treating? Use LED tealights instead of real ones, or get your xmas lights out early

If scary faces aren’t your thing – try using an apple corer to make a friendlier ‘polka dot’ pumpkin

Make a template of your design, stick on with masking tape, and use a sharp pin to dot an outline

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT?

Carved lots of pumpkins for your party? Don’t get rid of all the flesh and seeds you’ve removed – just collect as you go, then use up in one of our yummy ideas!

1 PUMPKIN SOUP

For every 250g pumpkin flesh soften half a chopped onion in a splash of oil. Add the flesh and 300ml vegetable stock, then cover and simmer until tender, before whizzing to a smooth soup and seasoning.

2 SPICED PUMPKIN CAKE

Coarsely grate the carved flesh and swap for the carrot in your favourite carrot cake recipe – an extra 2 tbsp sugar will even out the difference in sweetness.

3 CRUNCHY SEEDS

Wash the seeds to separate from any fleshy bits, then boil in salted water for 10 mins. Drain well, dry on kitchen paper, then spread on a baking sheet, toss with a splash of oil and roast at 200C/180C fan/gas 6, stirring every 5 minutes until golden and crunchy.

4 BANGERS & SMASH

Instead of just plain old potatoes, try 1 part pumpkin (or squash) flesh, to 2 parts floury potatoes. Boil up together before draining well, then mashing with a knob of butter, splash of milk and some seasoning – brilliant with bangers and gravy.

5 SUNDAY BRUNCH

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Boil 250g scraped out flesh until really tender, then mash until smooth, and whisk with 75g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 large eggs, 2 tbsp caster sugar and 150ml milk until smooth. Heat a non-stick pan with a knob of butter then add spoonfuls of the pancake batter and cook for a couple of minutes on each side. Serve with maple syrup, Greek yogurt and some chopped pecans for brekkie (or swap the yogurt for vanilla ice cream if you fancy pudding instead). Our recipe should make 12-15 small pancakes, enough for the family.