Although the original idea behind carving pumpkins was to ward off evil spirits and unwanted visitors, today’s creations are a friendly way to welcome friends and neighbors to join in on Halloween fun. Some are spooky, some are silly, and others are downright scary. The one thing they all have in common is they are all for fun. Here’s some tips to help you create the best jack-o-lantern on the block.
Choosing the Best Pumpkin
First, think about what kind of design you’ll be carving so you know if you need a tall, skinny pumpkin, a short, fat pumpkin or something in between. Our furry and friendly Energy Monster, Wattson, makes a great Halloween jack-o-lantern. Download a template of your favorite green monster here, and then keep these tips in mind when choosing a pumpkin:
- No Blemishes. You’ll want most of the pumpkin to be free from gouges, scratches, or other blemishes.
- Solid Skin. The skin of your pumpkin may have some bumps and warts, but it should be free from any soft spots or bruises.
- Stable Base. Find a flat surface and check to be sure the pumpkin sits up straight and is stable.
Prepping Your Pumpkin
First, cut a hole in the stem end of the pumpkin that is large enough to easily fit your hand in. Be sure to cut on an angle so the top fits back on without falling through. Then, scoop out all the guts and seeds and wash the entire pumpkin in warm water. Tape the template to your pumpkin and trace over all lines with a ballpoint pen to transfer the design.
Make sure little hands have help and supervision for the carving process. A serrated knife with a back-and-forth sawing motion is the best way to cut large areas and an x-acto knife can be used to scrape away the skin down to the white pith for areas that aren’t completely removed. Whether you’re carving simple triangle eyes and a toothy grin or a more detailed Halloween creation, make sure to have fun!
For additional tips, tricks and tools, visit this link for helpful tips and videos to help make your pumpkin carving experience a success!