All Hallow’s Eve, a marker in the year.
Here, it’s celebrated with a final fling and an outdoor feast, and a strange local custom involving electing a mock mayor who promptly gets a ducking in the village pond. There’s an intermingling of old and new traditions, but this act of marking the end of the harvest and welcoming the winter to come, in whatever form, has an age-old heart.
For me, carving a pumpkin has become an annual tradition, and after many years of hollowing out triangular eyes, nose and a toothy grin (to create an unnatural presence) I’ve started to take inspiration from the natural world.
The first Jack o’Lanterns would have been carved from swedes or turnips, but pumpkins and squashes create such a lovely glow and are far easier to carve!
The innards are added to stews or used to make soup. And this year, as well as making pumpkin and apple soup, we tried out this recipe for Thurshi from Diana Henry.
Yesterday, as we sat outside eating our soup with bacon butties, warmed by a fire and surrounded by falling leaves, I looked at our apple tree anew. How lucky we are to live in a world where nature provides for us.