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In our house, Pumpkin Carving is my husband’s job. Well, maybe not job, but it is his Halloween tradition with the kids. After many years and lots of pumpkins, we have picked up quick a few tips and tricks that we wished we had known sooner! There are many tips that make pumpkin carving so much easier. And you don’t have to be a master carver to utilize these tricks! Parents everywhere can make pumpkin carving on Halloween a simple, fun family tradition!
Choosing the Right Pumpkin
Simplifying the Pumpkin Carving process begins by choosing the correct Pumpkin! Pumpkins come in all different shapes and sizes, and which one you prefer is a personal preference. But the key to a good carving pumpkin comes in the stem!
-Look for a stem that is thick and green, not brown and dry. The greener the stem the fresher the pumpkin!
-Usually the thicker the pumpkin’s stem the thicker the wall of the pumpkin. Keep this in mind when selecting a design. The thicker the wall the more difficult some designs will be to actually carve. A pumpkin wall about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick is easiest to work with.
–Avoid any soft or moldy spots which can be a sign that your pumpkin is beginning to rot, therefore it may not last the entire Halloween season.
Pumpkin Carving Tips
–Don’t cut the stem off of the top! The stem is a vital source of nutrients for the pumpkin and it continues to nourish the plant even after it has been harvested. Cutting off the stem will cause the pumpkin to begin rotting. If you are carving on Halloween Day this won’t be an issue, but if you need to prolong the life of your Jack O’Lantern, then leave the stem on.
-Instead, carve a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin to remove the seeds.
-But if you decide to cut a hole in the top, then make sure you cut the lid on an angle not straight up and down. This will prevent the lid from falling back inside the pumpkin.
-Scoop out every last string and seed from inside the pumpkin. Using a large wide spoon works well, but a pumpkin scoop with a scalloped edge really does a great job removing all the seeds and string. The “guts” are the first part of the pumpkin to grow mold. The mold will then quickly spread to the walls of the pumpkin.
-Use a fine tip Dry Erase Marker to Draw your Face or Design onto the Pumpkin! You will be able to easily erase any mistakes made while drawing.
–A boning knife is the correct knife to use for Pumpkin Carving!
-If you are creating an intricate design on your pumpkin, use a spray bottle filled with water to keep the pumpkin moist while carving.
Tricks for Prolonging the Life of Your Pumpkin
-Applying a thin layer of Vaseline along the cut edges of your carved pumpkin will help keep the flesh moist and prevent mold growth.
–Store your pumpkin in the fridge if carved ahead of time.
-A pumpkin that begins to shrivel before Halloween can be revived by placing it in a bath of cold water carved side down for a few hours. This will help add moisture back to the pumpkin.
-Using a candle to illuminate your Jack O’Lantern will actually begin to slowly cook your pumpkin. Cooking will cause your pumpkin to begin decomposing. I prefer using LED Pumpkin Lights. They come with a remote and timer setting. Great for use year after year!
I hope you have learned some great Pumpkin Carving tips and tricks! If you are planning a Halloween Party this year check out my Ultimate List of Halloween Party Themes to create a great, unique event!