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  • Writer's pictureMia Hable

More Than 1 Way To Carve A Pumpkin

Do you want to set the mood for your Halloween party or put out something fun for trick- or- treaters? Odds are that carving a pumpkin is high on the list of Halloween decorations you need to create before the big night. If you are anything like me you wait until the very last moment before Halloween to carve your pumpkins. You don’t want them to mold or get that shrunken head look, where the design dries up and there is no telling what you decided to carve. I have put together three ways to carve your pumpkin to minimize your time and maximize your fun.

I would recommend buying medium sized pumpkins, large ones take too much time to clean out and small pumpkins do not have enough surface area for a good design. Once you have your pumpkins, do the dirty work first. Clean out all the guts. Scrape down the walls as thin as you can to make carving easier. If you like roasted pumpkin seeds, this is the perfect time to separate and wash the seeds for a fun fall snack later. Pre- cleaned pumpkins will make carving easier for you and any kiddos joining in on the fun. Next you need to pick your design. Depending on your ability and of course time, your design might determine your technique.

The first way to carve a pumpkin is fairly traditional. Buy a pumpkin carving kit. They come with the standard tools to make pumpkin carving a breeze and a book of patterns with funny and scary designs so that your jack o’ lantern can stand out in a crowd. Simply remove the pattern from your book, tape it to the pumpkin and use the provided tool to poke holes all along the lines of the design. Once you have poked holes along the entire stencil remove it from the pumpkin and you will see the outline of your design. Here is where I like to connect the dots with a sharpie. This way I can better see my design and which parts to cut out. Next, use your provided pumpkin saws to cut along the lines and pop out the pieces. If you happen to cut through a spot you didn’t mean to, that’s ok just use a tooth pick to reattach your piece. Once you have completed your cuts pop a couple of flameless candles in and turn out the lights to view your handiwork. Odds are you have one fantastic traditional (not boring) pumpkin.

If you are running low on time, but want something high impact, I would suggest busting out the power tools. A drill can create some beautiful non- traditional jack o’ lanterns. Just use a sharpie and draw whatever design you like. I chose to draw a swirl pattern all around my pumpkin. Then, I took the drill and drilled holes following my guidelines. You can use any size drill bit you like, or even switch it up. I used almost every drill bit I own and the results are fun and quirky. Place your flamesless candles in and you will see your design glow!

If text is more your thing, and you want to send a funny or spooky note in your pumpkin carving this last way to carve might be for you. You can use fun fonts from the computer to put together a message. Print out your custom stencil and use a poker to punch holes all around the lines of the text, use a sharpie to connect the dots and make your text easier to read. Or if you happen to be excellent at lettering just draw your message directly onto the pumpkin with a sharpie. Rather than cut into the pumpkin try skinning the pumpkin. Not as gross as it sounds, this method involves no cutting, just use some clay carving tools, or a flat head screw driver and remove the outer layer of the pumpkin between your letters. Simply push your tool in a downward manner to “shave off” the outer layer of your pumpkin. Leaving the flesh exposed and showing off each individual letter. You will have a fun message to display with no cutting; your pumpkin will last longer and is safe and easy for any children wanting to help! Beware, this type of carving will produce a less noticeable glow so put more candles in or make an effort to scrape down the inside of the pumpkin as thin as possible so that your message can be read easily.

To ensure your pumpkins remain beautiful after carving give them a bleach bath for a few minutes. This will prevent them from molding. Once the pumpkins are air dried rub some Vaseline along the edges of any cuts to seal in moisture and prevent your designs from shrinking. Finally, set out your pumpkins for guests and trick- or-treaters to enjoy!!

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