Our soup and pumpkins tradition

4 November 2015

Growing up, my family hosted a “scarecrow party” at our home every year. A dozen or so families joined us for a night of scarecrow assembling, chili eating, and ghost-in-the-graveyard playing (home base was always the bed of my Dad’s pick-up truck!). To me, this night was even better than Halloween.

When John and I moved into our house three years ago, I was excited to kick-off some new traditions around entertaining and hosting. Likely due to my scarecrow-making past, our first (and most successful) tradition is also fall themed: a soup and pumpkin carving night! Since we just celebrated our third annual event, I thought I’d share a few tips.

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— Since ours is an indoor event, we’ve found that keeping the guest list to three couples works out well. That way, we can still fit everyone around the table (with extra leaves in place) for carving and eating.
— We provide two soups and guests help with the extras. This year, one brought a salad, one brought some drinks and dessert, and we added cheesy bread and more drinks.
— Since our event is on a weeknight, prep work the night before is key. John made one pot of soup and prepped ingredients for the second the night before, then heated the already-made soup in the crockpot and assembled the second on party day as soon as he got home from work.
— A few crowd-favorite soup recipes we’ve used in the past: Black Bean Soup with Cumin and Jalapeno, Award-Winning Chili, Potato Leek Soup, Tortilla Soup, and Hunter’s Minestrone.


— We try to be mindful of everyone’s time (especially since many have little ones now!) and have dinner ready to go when guests arrive (usually around 6:30). The first hour is taken up with chatting and eating, and the second with chatting and carving.
— Some couples carve one family pumpkin, and some carve two individual ones.
— I protect our table with a length of kraft paper. Pumpkin guts go in a big bucket in the middle after dinner. The only other tools required are a selection of kitchen knives for carving and writing utensils for sketching (bonus: the kraft runner doubles as a sketch pad!).
— May I suggest my Cozy Fall playlist for background music?
— Before folks leave, we take group portraits with each family’s masterpiece!

Do y’all have any hosting traditions to share? I’ve been thinking about adding a Christmas card addressing afternoon this year :)

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November 4, 2015 7:07 am

Ghost-in-the-graveyard!!!! Love that memory! Your soup night sounds so fun :) My friends hosted a similar event this year but we carved outside (wich was good in theory) but in practice the temp was about 35 and all of our hands froze from the wet pumpkin guts!

November 4, 2015 8:41 am

I love this idea! I will try to remember it for next year! :) We don’t really have any hosting traditions, we’ve kinda mixed it up each year on when we host things. One of my favorites was an ugly sweater party for Christmas. I made a big batch on slow cooker hot chocolate and then had all sorts of add-ins for it. My sister (who is a wonderful baker) brought over delicious cupcakes. We had an ugly sweater contest with some prizes and we set up a photo booth with a snowman background with a bunch of Christmas themed props. It was a blast. We only hosted it once, but maybe will again this year? Last year we had Thanksgiving at our house. This year we hosted a pi day party (in March), which was fun.

November 4, 2015 9:19 am

It was such a lovely evening – one of our most favorites of the year! xoxo

November 4, 2015 9:39 am

Love this fun tradition that y’all do!!

If you do that Christmas card addressing, count me in! Ha. That’s the part that gets the most tedious :)

November 6, 2015 4:43 am

Such a wonderful tradition! We have two teenage kids and we usually have a family pumpkin-carving night which is great fun, but I was thinking that inviting friends would be lovely too. When I think of it, we actually have quite a few traditions with friends, for expample: after the summer holiday we have two families over for a dinner and holiday pictures sharing (we project the photos on a screen) – it’s a fun way to catch up after the summer. On 1st May I make May bowl and we have friends over for a toast accompanied by me reciting a poem about May being the time of love. We have another family over for Easter brunch every year, we visit another set of friends on st January… After a couple of years everybody counts on these dates and that means that even if everybody is too busy the rest of the year, we know we will see each other at least then.

November 6, 2015 4:46 am

@VICTORIA B I love the idea of an ugly sweater Christmas party! I might copy it this year :-)

November 6, 2015 8:26 am

We had so much fun!! And Dave is very thankful to have that minestrone soup recipe–yum!

November 6, 2015 9:36 am

I love this idea! So fun!

November 11, 2015 8:53 pm

This looks like so much fun, you guys! And Em, your bump! I love it so much :)

November 14, 2015 11:09 am

Glad to have contributed to your traditions!