How to Carve a Pumpkin: 7 Pro Tips
With Halloween around the corner, it's time to get your seasonal decor ready to roll. While skeleton and ghost decorations are always popular, nothing stacks up to the iconic Jack-o-lantern. From young to old, everyone loves to do some pumpkin carving during the fall. With the right tools and help, the whole family can get in on the fun. Here are some helpful tips on for carving a pumpkin like a pro.
1. Choose the Right Pumpkin
Select a pumpkin with a sturdy stem and a flat bottom, so it will sit up straight on a flat surface. Whether it's at the grocery store or patch, make sure the one you choose is firm. Avoid a pumpkin that's mushy because it won't stay intact very long.
2. Find a Good Carving Kit
The right kit should include all the utensils that you need to get that perfect creepy smile on your jack-o-lantern for Halloween. You can clean out all the guts using scoop tools and carve out intricate designs with the various stencils available.
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3. Scoop It Out
Believe it or not, there is a right way to scoop out the insides of a pumpkin. Make sure to scoop out all the pulp, and keep the inner wall's thickness to a little more than an inch. This will make it easier to carve out the desired shape.
4. Stencil Your Design First
Before you start carving, draw your design on paper so you can preview it. Then, draw the same design on your jack-o-lantern with an erase marker or a grease pencil. The pre-defined lines will make cutting your pumpkin much easier.
5. Start Cutting
Use the knife in your kit or a small serrated one from your kitchen. Consider holding the pumpkin in your lap to move the knife more easily and create clean up-and-down slices. Make sure kids have adult supervision when carving.
6. Let Your Light Shine
Use tea lights in metal cases or candles in glass holders for a light that burns longer. However, a battery-operated, flameless candle is always a better choice as it will ensure that your pumpkin lasts longer. It's also a safer option as you can leave your jack-o-lantern unattended, which is not the case with a real flame. Cinnamon or nutmeg sprinkled onto the bottom will act as a natural air freshener.
7. Preserve Your Pumpkin
If you want to keep your pumpkin out for a few weeks, try this out. Soak a clean pumpkin in water and bleach for a few hours and then dry it thoroughly. You can then apply vegetable oil on the inside and outside to prevent shriveling. Cutting off the top and bottom keeps the jack-o-lantern more stable and it can be stored in a refrigerator when not in use.