How to Carve a Pumpkin:

• It is best to choose a large pumpkin. It is easier to carve a large pumpkin. If you want your pumpkin to last for awhile don’t choose pumpkins with bruises or moldy stems  It is easier to carve pumpkins with a lighter color because they tend to be softer.  Look for pumpkins with a sturdy stem.  A sturdy stem is the sign of a healthy pumpkin.  Don’t lift the pumpkin by the stem because it can damage the pumpkin and make it age faster.  If the pumpkin feels heavy and sloshy put it back.  The insides could be rotten and that would be a bad thing!

• Place the knife at a 45 degree angle to cut the top of the pumpkin.  The lid will have a place to rest if you cut it at a 45 degree angle.  If you cut straight down the lid will fall through the pumpkin.

• Save the pumpkin seeds. Toasted pumpkin seeds make a healthy as well as tasty snack. Scrape the inside of the pumpkin with a large, heavy metal serving spoon or ice cream scoop.

• Soak the cleaned pumpkin a couple of hours in a bleach water solution of 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 gallon of water if you want the pumpkin to last longer. Make sure to dry the pumpkin thoroughly. After the pumpkin is dry rub it inside and out, including all cut edges, with vegetable oil or petroleum jelly.  This will prevent the pumpkin from shriveling.

• Print or draw the pattern of what you want to carve on the pumpkin on a piece of paper. Use small sharp scissors or a razor knife to cut out the areas you will be carving into the pumpkin. Tape the template onto the pumpkin and use a marker to trace the carving lines. Cutting slits in the paper will help it to conform to the round surface.

• A long serrated knife or a pumpkin-carving knife with teeth will be necessary to cut through the thick flesh. Use a sawing motion and take your time cutting along the outside edge of the marker lines so there is no marker residue.

• The pumpkin will be more stable and easier to carve if you cut off the bottom of the pumpkin. If you are going to use a candle to light your jack-o-lantern, be sure the opening in the bottom is large enough to fit over the candle. Place the candle on a fire-proof base large enough for the pumpkin.

• If you are going to light your jack-o-lantern with a candle, it would be a good idea to leave the lid off to avoid a fire hazard. It is best to use a votive candle in a glass holder or tea lights in a metal case.

• A small battery-operated flameless candle or a small flashlight is a safer than traditional candles for lighting  jack-o’-lanterns.

• If you want your pumpkin to smell good and to leave a fall like aroma in your house then sprinkle the bottom side of the pumpkin lid with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or cloves.

  • After you have carved your pumpkin wipe Vaseline along the cut edges to help preserve your pumpkin.
  • Select an unbruised pumpkin when you are picking out your pumpkin.  Make sure the pumpkin has a flat bottom so that it sits upright by itself.

Carving a pumpkin is something you just have to do for Halloween!  Show off your creative skills and decorate your pumpkin after you have carved it.  This is something you can do as a family and make a family tradition every year around Halloween!

Filed under: Pumpkins