11 Pumpkin Carving Tips

Halloween is just around the corner and if you love all things Halloween you probably have a house full of candy, and some great costumes picked out to celebrate. You probably have your home decked out with some spooky décor, and you’re now thinking about carving your pumpkin – or pumpkins.

Carving pumpkins is definitely a Halloween tradition in most homes. Whether you have kids or you’re a kid at heart, don’t let this Halloween pass you by without showing off your pumpkin carving skills – and here are some tips to help!

Before You Carve:

  • Have a Design in Mind: If you want to create more than a basic pumpkin, it’s best to have a design in mind before you even pick out a pumpkin. This will allow you to know what shape will work best. In fact, you might even bring a print out of your design with you so you can see if it will fit.
  • Pick a Pumpkin with a Stem: A pumpkin without a stem has probably been highly handled and may be bruised or damaged. Choose a pumpkin with a solid stem.
  • Take a Look at the Different Shapes and Colors: Pumpkins come in all sorts of different shapes and colors, so don’t hesitate to pick something unusual. You may find that a not-so-traditional pumpkin fits with your design or makes a simple carving stand out.
  • Wait to Carve: Pumpkins will last quite a long time – uncarved. But, once you carve them, they will start to break down. Wait as long as you can to carve your pumpkin to maintain its condition.

When You Carve:

  • Keep Some Water Handy: Your pumpkin will start to turn brown once you cut into it (like apples do). It doesn’t happen as quickly as it does with an apple, but if you have an intricate design that will take a long time to carve – keep some water handy to moisten the open edges.
  • Use All Sorts of Tools: Sure a sharp knife is the standard when carving, but you might find yourself using a chisel, drill, or even a hammer to create some cool cuts. Also, if you have children wanting to help, think about picking up one of those simple carving sets (available at dollar stores and other discount stores) so they can help.
  • Leave the Top On: Lots of people cut the top off of their pumpkin so they can access the inside to clean it out, but consider cutting out the bottom. This will allow you to easily place your pumpkin over its light source, and you might be able to incorporate the stem as part of your design.
  • Thoroughly Clean the Inside: Take the time to thoroughly clean out the inside of your pumpkin. This will help slow down the decomposition.
  • Use a Stencil: If you have an intricate design, be sure to use a stencil. You can transfer your design with a marker or lightly trace it out with a knife.

After You Carve:

  • Use an Electric Light: Lots of people use candles or tea lights to light their pumpkins, but a battery-operated light is safer and will stay lit. Your local dollar store probably has them available, and they may even have some with cool effects like strobe or different colors.
  • Keep in the Refrigerator: If you do cut your pumpkin a few days before Halloween, place it in your refrigerator to help avoid mold.

Do you have your pumpkin already? Do you have a design in mind? No matter if you go for a simple jack-o-lantern or an elaborate design – have a happy Halloween!

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