Was it just our area or did anyone else find last night particularly quiet? In previous years, there have been hordes of children trick-or-treating and teenagers in fancy dress on their way to a party but not last night. Thank goodness there was a Halloween event at Fortnum's to see October on its way.
I promise I'll get back on track with garden updates soon; meantime, I wanted to share my visit to the annual Fortnum & Mason pumpkin carving event. After yesterday's marsupial excitement was over, and I'd written the blog post, and the man from ITN had gone, and I'd posted my photos to Flickr for him, finally I was able to slip away to Piccadilly in the West End. Normally I can take or leave the commercial side of London but the Midlands based part of my family make an expedition down to Fortnum's every year for the pumpkin carving event, so I do too.
We're a close-knit family brought up to believe that if you're going bother to do something, then give it your best shot. It's a good ethic and one that has resulted in one or other member of the family carrying off some Fortnum's booty in previous years. The first year my niece Kate won the competition, dinner for two, a huge hamper and a bespoke besom broom; in subsequent years, the competition was split into two age groups and children in our family came away with a first prize hamper of sweets in both years.
This year, despite a terrific entry from our Eme (age 8), the first prize went elsewhere but she did win the fancy dress competition. I do wonder though because a judge was overheard commenting that my sister's family have won a pumpkin prize in all previous years ... as if that would make a difference to their final decision? Never mind; Eme's 8-eyed spider pumpkin ended up in pride of place in front of the royal crest in The Crypt as decor for a whisky tasting event. (It does have legs but they're a bit lost against the fire grate.)
I do enjoy going to see what everyone else has come up with. It's always an inspiration - I'm amazed at the skill of some of the entries although last night I completely loved this 'Day of the Dead' carved pumpkin - so pretty, and I do like a bit of nice.
I wasn't able to stay for the judging of the adult pumpkins last night (small children only last so long so my family had sensibly moved on to go and eat) so I have no idea who won but I'm hoping that this cleverly sculpted pumpkin was given an award. See the little key in the side? It's locking the creature in its pumpkin cage while at the front the cage bars are being pulled out. I love the attention to detail!
While waiting for the adult pumpkins to be brought in, I got chatting to the PR staff who were doing a great job of organising the competitors and crowds and was given a pumpkin carving set to bring home with me! Now I have no excuses for not entering next year - and adult entry fees go to The Prince's Trust.
I've just discovered that Fortnum's have a Pinterest page so, if you want to see what the entries were like in previous years, take a look at the boards for 2011 and 2012 - some of them are awesomely mind-boggling!