Taking place from 26th – 31st October, the Virginia Pumpkin festival returns and promises to be the biggest and best yet with over 20,000 expected to attend the festival over the course of the bank holiday weekend.

Celebrating all things Pumpkin related this year’s festivities include Ireland’s largest fancy dress competition, a one-off gig by  The Hothouse Flowers, an artisan food and craft fair and the annual pumpkin weigh-in, which sees pumpkins from across Europe compete for title of heaviest pumpkin!

To celebrate this year’s festival, the Virginia Pumpkin Festival has put together some top tips for carving your very own Pumpkin this Halloween.

1. While the traditional Jack-O-Lantern is the most popular design the world over you can also get some fantastic stencils online or why not draw your own unique design.

2. Make sure your pumpkin is not over ripe and that there are no bruises on it. Ideally you want a Pumpkin which is sturdy and a good shade of orange.

3. Next carefully cut a circle around the top of the pumpkin taking care not to damage the stem and remove.

4. Remove the pulp and seeds from the inside using a spoon

5. Use the marker to draw your pattern onto the outside of the pumpkin and give it a few minutes to dry.

6. Using a paring knife carefully cut along the outline of the pattern. Make sure you cut completely into the hollow of the pumpkin. Use the tip of the knife to remove the solid pieces and discard them.

7. Complete the Jack-O-Lantern by placing a tea light inside the pumpkin.

Did you know?
The Pumpkin has been a symbol of Halloween for centuries and in particular, carving a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern is still a popular Halloween ritual. Pumpkin carving originates in Ireland and Scotland where people would carve scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away a mythical figure called ‘Stingy Jack’ and other wandering evil spirits. Irish and Scottish emigrants brought this tradition to America and soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect Jack-O-Lanterns.

Check out www.pumpkinfestival.ie for more info.