Pumpkin Carving Tips
TIPS & TRICKS
Keep Those Pumpkins Pretty!
We’re put together some tips for your jack-o-lantern carving for this Halloween.
1. Choose the right pumpkin.
I like them taller than they are wide because that is the shape of a face. I also like them big and ugly because that makes them look interesting.
2. Decapitation or Back Surgery?: You don’t have to take off the top, you can also take of the bottom or the back,. I cut off the bottom if I want the top to look untouched and I cut off the back if I want to use the entire front, top, and bottom for a design. Regardless, you do want to get in there and remove the seeds, if you don’t the squirrels will.
3. Cutting the Plug:
Decapitating is the toughest thing to do, the top of the pumpkin is woody and tough. You need a strong blade. I use a drywall saw for this. They don’t cost much, about $6 and they are hard to match. If I didn’t have one, I’d use a filet knife and I’d be cautious. Cut the plug to be a cone-shape (see the video for the explanation) with a little jog in it, so that it comes out easily and fits back easily too.
We’re happy to help you find the perfect pumpkin for your jack-o-lantern.
4. Scoop the goop:
I use my ice cream scoop. Not only that, but I’ve gotten my arm dirty enough times to have developed a way to stay fairly clean. Scrape around the sides, starting from the hole opening to the bottom. Then, after all of the walls are scraped, dump the pumpkin into the trash. Easy!
5. Draw the face:
I use dry erase markers because if you don’t like your work, you can erase it! Also, after you are done your pumpkin won’t end up with an accidental layer of guy-liner that screams “sloppy”.
6. I’m really lazy, so I use power tools to carve my pumpkins.
Sure, a kit from the store will do the trick, but I want it done quickly. Mostly I use my jigsaw to remove chunks (like eyes and the mouth) and then a rotary tool to carve away the skin. For big areas I’m not afraid to break out an angle grinder. It removes the pumpkin skin and can even be used to shape the pumpkin.
“Pumpkins rot. But yours doesn’t have to rot as quickly.”
7. Great Props Are Everywhere.
I look for fun props everywhere, but my favorite places are the grocery store, home depot, and the craft store. I like to use twizzlers for dreadlocks, wood chips for teeth, taffy for tongues, home insulation for brains, all sorts of things. I’ve become the best pumpkin carver on the block by using some really cheap gags and you can too.
8. Preserving Your Pumpkin:
Pumpkins rot. But yours doesn’t have to rot as quickly. When my pumpkin is done, I spray it with bathroom cleaner with bleach. This keeps the bugs, mold, and animals away.
9. Cut out the lid on an angle, not straight up and down.
This way the lid won’t drop inside the pumpkin when you replace it. A boning knife works best for this.
Carving pumpkins is just fun!
10. Hold the pumpkin in your lap when it’s time to carve the features.
It’s easier to carve when the face is gazing up at you. And don’t cut on a slant; clean up-and-down slices look best. To make intricate designs, try using a small saw.
11. Use your scraps creatively.
Make a tongue out of a discarded piece of pumpkin shell, for example.
12. Keep your pumpkin fresh.
Spread petroleum jelly on the cut edges to seal in moisture. If your pumpkin still shrivels a few days later, you can revive it with a facedown soak in cold water for up to eight hours.
13. If you like to leave the lid on while the candle is lit, create a chimney.
First, leave the lid on for a few minutes while the candle burns, then make a small hole where the lid has blackened.
14. Sprinkle a little cinnamon inside the lid.
When you light the candle, your jack-o’-lantern will smell like a pumpkin pie.