Pumpkin Carving Tips

Child  cleaning out pumpkin seeds.

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To celebrate Halloween and the wonderful season of autumn, you can carve or decorate your pumpkin to add to the festivity. Here are a few tips for selecting, carving, and decorating your pumpkin this year.

Choosing the Right Pumpkin

  • Try to go direct to a pumpkin patch to buy your pumpkin.
  • Buy your pumpkin 1-2 days before Halloween (pumpkins don't last long).
  • Select a pumpkin with a fairly flat bottom and a tall/big stem.
  • Avoid pumpkins with cracks, bruises, or a broken stem.

Pumpkin Carving Tips

First draw your design on the pumpkin with pencil, crayon, or a water-based marker.

Use a sharp, straight-edged knife to carve the top and make a "lid" (adult supervision and/or assistance advised). Cut at an inward angle so the lid won't fall in later when the pumpkin begins to shrivel.

Always cut away from yourself and carve with slow, steady saw-like motion.

Use a solid spoon or ice cream scooper to scoop out seeds and stringy parts. You can also buy a pumpkin scooper that works well.

Carve the nose first, then the eyes and mouth.

Add a few holes around the pumpkin for ventilation for the candle.

Carve a flat spot on the bottom of the inside of the pumpkin and carefully place the candle there.

Use a long match to light the candle by sticking it through the jack-o-lantern's mouth (adult supervision and/or assistance advised).

Spread some petroleum jelly or vegetable oil around the outside of the pumpkin to help it last longer.

Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

Get out the craft box and add some personality to your carved pumpkin with some black yarn or a wig for hair.

Use ribbons, cotton or felt material, straight pins, glue, paint, glitter, and sticker letters to decorate.

For young kids, skip the carving and just decorate away. You can buy the very small pumpkins and have young children decorate one each or a whole family of pumpkins.

You can also use a "glow stick" inside a carved pumpkin instead of a candle for safety.

Most of all, be safe and have fun!

Pumpkin Carving and Decorating Tips and Pictures

Do you have your own tips for choosing, carving, or decorating your pumpkin? Or do you have a picture of your awesome carved pumpkin? Please share it!

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