How to Carve a Pumpkin Like a Pro
It’s almost Halloween, which means it’s time to carve a pumpkin and display your jack-o-lantern on your porch! Here’s how to carve a pumpkin like a pro.
Step One: Find the Perfect Pumpkin
Pick a larger pumpkin that is lighter in color— those are easier to carve. Inspect the grind to make sure it’s fresh. Avoid picking a pumpkin with early signs of bruising. Clean off any dirt on the outside of the pumpkin.
Step Two: Pick a Good Knife
Choose a thin boning knife to carve your pumpkin. Make sure it’s sharp and ready to use. If you’re carving pumpkins with your children, then help them with the knife. Always be safe with sharp tools.
Step Three: Choose a Stencil
Find a carving template with a fun design. You can choose a traditional jack-o-lantern stencil, or something more creative. If you’re artistically inclined, then try drawing your own pattern.
Find a list of carving ideas on Southern Living’s website. This list suggests stacking pumpkins for a more elaborate design, making a pumpkin wreath, and creating petite pumpkins.
Step Four: Start Cutting.
Use a keyhole to cut a hole in the center of the pumpkin. The exterior of the pumpkin can be tough to carve, so children will need help.
Step Five: Start Scooping.
Scoop out the inside of the pumpkin with a plastic scraper. Make sure the inside is clean of flesh and seeds. Save the pumpkin flesh to make pumpkin puree you can use in fall recipes. Keep the pumpkin seeds to add to dishes or roast and eat. Or you can save the seeds and flesh and add it to your garden. The nutrient-rich pumpkin flesh serves as compost in a garden.
Step Six: Attach the Design.
Place the template on the pumpkin and secure it with tape. Use a needle pin to trace the stencil.
Step Seven: Start Carving.
Carve along your pattern with a linoleum cutter. This carving tool is more accurate than a knife. If you’re creating jack-o-lantern eyes or a circular pattern, then use hole cutters.
Step Eight: Add Light.
Add a candle inside the pumpkin. For ventilation, cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin. As another option, try a battery-operated candle. Or try wrapping a string of light around a glass jar, and then secure the lights with tape. Use your carving tools to create a hole in the pumpkin for the cord. Place the jar inside the pumpkin.
Step Nine: Display Your Pumpkin.
Set your pumpkin on the porch or inside your home. It’s your pumpkin — decide where you want it!