For the past two years, John and I have hosted a party that I call PumpkinFest. It’s essentially a pumpkin carving party held a day or two before Halloween. My sister makes her delicious pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, John makes spiced popcorn, and we serve hot apple cider and specialty fall beers. At the end of the night we light up all the jack o’ lanterns and admire everyone’s handiwork before they are taken home. It’s a good time.
This year for Halloween, we will be in transit from Nicaragua to Guatemala via bus. Its going to take us a few days to make our way through Honduras and El Salvador, before finally landing at Lake Atitlan on November 1st. There isn’t much space for Halloween festivity during our travels.
So before we left our home in Granada, we got in our one celebratory Halloween activity – papaya carving. There may not be pumpkins here in Nicaragua, but there are plenty of giant papayas, which John noted would make good substitutes. He was right.
While carving a pumpkin is a several hour process, we discovered that a papaya can be carved in about 20 minutes. The biggest time saver was the discovery that once John cut off the top, the hollow insides of the papaya required no cleaning. (There are creepy black seeds all over the inside, but cleaning them out would have destroyed the fruit, so we kept them in. There was still plenty of room for a candle to be safely placed.)
John’s artistic talents greatly outshine mine – I usually need stencils and thumbtacks, while he can freehand all kinds of stuff – so he did all the carving. The flesh of a papaya cuts like butter, and John had a little face drawn up in no time. It’s not as elaborate as his usual squash-based designs, but its still pretty impressive!
Happy Halloween! More from us when we arrive in Guatemala!