The Ritz-Carlton is an upscale large hotel connected to the Tysons Galleria mall in McLean, VA. In the fall, they host a pumpkin carving class for ages six and above. It is a great way for children to learn some techniques for carving pumpkins without all the mess that it can make in your own home. The class size is between 10 and 15.
Outside the class, children are greeted with a buffet of heavy snacks and appetizers arranged in a festive fall display. All of the food was geared towards children and included chicken tenders with dipping sauces, popcorn, pigs in a blanket and assorted veggies and dips. There were also many beverages to choose from including apple cider, hot cocoa and coffee. These were all available throughout the class and children could bring this food in the room.
We walked into the room and it was completely covered with plastic. There was no concern about children making a mess. The Ritz was ready for each child and had their names written on chef hats along with child-size “Ritz-Carlton” aprons to wear. Each child also received a Halloween themed sugar cookie next to their pumpkins.
The pumpkins were very large and the best part was that they were cleaned out of all the seeds! They were tipped in wooden bowls so the children could carve into them easily. Executive Chef Chris and Chef Phil gave a lesson to the children on the techniques needed to creative a beautiful pumpkin. They had some amazing pumpkins on display that they children could admire for inspiration.
After the lesson, children were sent back to their seats and given special knives to cut into the pumpkins. The staff went around the room during the entire class and gave special attention to each child. At one point, they called up an employee from another department to help a little girl who wanted a wolf on her pumpkin.
When the children were finished carving their pumpkins, the pumpkins were removed and each family was invited to go through the “Haunted House” individually in the room next to the classroom. The “Haunted House” was child-appropriate with various stations for kids to enjoy. One station had brains in a dark bowl for children to reach in and feel (cauliflower) and another had eyeballs (cold grapes).
At the end of the “Haunted House” was a dark area with a table. On the table was the pumpkin all lit up that each child decorated! The staff sneaks it into the Haunted House so the kids can be surprised to see their pumpkin on display. My kids loved this! The carved pumpkins were then put into large bags before leaving, making it easy to transport them home, mess-free. Each child was also given a candy goodie bag before leaving.
The class lasted about an hour. Reservations must be made far in advance as these classes fill up quickly. There are two seatings on a Saturday before Halloween at 10 am and 1 pm. The cost for each child is $50 (not including tax and tip). Ritz Carlton’s Pumpkin Carving class is a great event to add to your Halloween experience. Be sure to put it on your 2015 bucket list!
Photos by Andrea Verwys.