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How to carve a pumpkin this Halloween Posted On 12 October 2020

With Halloween coming up, there is nothing that symbolizes this holiday better than a carved pumpkin…

 

Whether you want to create a simple jack-o-lantern or something a little more artistic, here are some hints and tips that will help you out, as anyone who has ever carved a pumpkin already knows, it can be a messy job and tougher than first expected.

 

Use the right pumpkin

When picking a pumpkin make sure you get to the shops early and pick one that is fresh, unbruised and has both a sturdy stem and a flat bottom. You’ll want the flat bottom, especially so that it stays stable when carving and doesn’t roll when you have finished and put it on show.

 

Cut from the bottom

Yes, you read that right, when making your first cut, choose to create the lid at the bottom of the pumpkin. This will help stop your pumpkin from caving in at the sides and you will also avoid the fiddliness of putting the lid back on after it has been cut.

 

Scoop out the pulp and thin the walls

Ensure when you are inside the pumpkin that you scoop out all the pulp and seeds. You can get a special ‘pumpkin’ claw for this job, alternatively, a great tool most people have at home already for this job is an ice cream scoop. When scooping out also thin down the inner wall of the ‘face’ area so it will be easier to cut.

 

Sketch out your design

On a piece of A-4 paper, sketch out your spooky design. Ideally do this to the size of the pumpkin, covering the whole piece of paper so when the time comes you can tape the sketch onto the ‘face’ of the pumpkin. You will then be able to use this as a guide when it comes to actually cutting out the pumpkin.

 

Make rough cuts first

Holding the pumpkin in your lap for stability, start by making the largest, simplest rough cuts using a serrated kitchen knife. By getting the bigger pieces out of the way, you can then go back and neaten up the edges and details later using a small saw or sharp non-serrated knife.

 

Other hints and tips

  • Use the scraps of the pumpkin to make a tongue, hair accessories etc, for the pumpkin.
  • Spread petroleum jelly on the cut edges to seal in moisture and keep your jack-o-lantern fresh.
  • Create a chimney. When you first light a candle inside, let it burn for a few minutes and then check where it has blackened. Then simply create a small hole in that area to act as a chimney.
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