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Pumpkin Carving Tips and Tricks

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There is a real art to carving a pumpkin, adult or child we all love a carved pumpkin at halloween.

It all starts with the right pumpkin, its a bit like finding baby bears porridge!  You need to find the one that is just right, and for most people you will know it when you find it, your pumpkin should have a flat bottom so it does not roll around but other than that let your pumpkin choose you.

Give your pumpkin a good wash before sketching out your design.  There are know rules for pumpkin design you must use your imagination, if traditional is where your head is at then go ahead and draw your scary eyes, triangle nose and jagged mouth. 

Just a tip I have found out that works.

Sprinkle some Cinnamon onto the inside of the pumpkin lid, light the candle inside and you will fill your room with a delightful cinnamon and pumpkin aroma

Your pumpkin only has a few days life once it has been carved but there are a few things you can do to preserve its life for as long as possible, your pumpkins biggest issue is dehydration, soaking the pumpkin in water overnight will help to rehydrate it in the short term and if you add a teaspoon full of bleach to the water this will help stop the growth of mould on your Jack-O-Lantern you could also keep it in the refrigerator overnight.

During the day you should keep you pumpkin away from direct sunlight, this is most effectively done underneath a damp cloth.

Another great tip to try and stop your pumpkin from drying out drying out is to coat all the edges with petroleum jelly, this creates a thin barrier and helps to keep that valuable moisture inside your pumpkin, you can also use vegetable oil, but petroleum jelly is much better, for preserving your jack-o- lantern.

Wash the pumkin before you start carving, but make sure you wait until you have finished carving, before you clean out the inside. This ensures there is more structual integrity while carving and makes it easier to produce the excelent designs you want.

The first job in any pumpkin carving is to cut the lid, use a sharp but small knife and cut into the pumpkin at a 45 degree angle slanting inwards, always cut away from you body and be careful of your valuable hands and fingers!  It is actually easier to cut a hexagonal shape rather than a circle and the angle of the cut ensures the lid will stay on without dropping through into the pumpkin once it is hollowed out.

With the lid safely off the pumpkin you will be able to see the seeds and pumpkin strings, there are many pumpkin carving kits available easily found in your local value store of supermarket, these will usually contain a scoop that you can use to clear out the pumpkin gloop in the middle, if you haven't got yourself a kit then a large spoon or ice cream scoop works just as well, but I have always ended up using my hands to pull everything out!  

Once you have removed the seeds and strings you will need to do a bit more scraping around the edges just until the pumpkin is clean, don't remove too much of the flesh if you would like your pumpkin to stay fairly rigid and strong.  Also make sure that there is a flat bit on the bottom of the pumpkin where your candle is going to sit. 


And now you are ready to carve!

Plan you design and sketch it out on your pumpkin.
I have always liked the traditional triangle eyes and friendly smile,
if this is not where you are at, there are lots of stencils you can buy, or
you could just print a design from the internet, tape the printed paper to
the pumpkin and trace around the outlines this will leave a faint indentation
on the surface of the pumpkin.
Once you have your outline, take a metal skewer and punch slim holes through
the pumpkin along the outline, it is a simple job to join these holes with a sharp knife and punch out the unwanted pieces.

Add you your candle to the middle of your pumpkin and enjoy x

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