We scoured the Internet to find the niftiest, coolest and most innovative tips for carving pumpkins, as well as need-to-knows about the fun Halloween activity. Here are some of our favourite top tips for carving the perfect pumpkin:
- Larger pumpkins are easier to carve.
- When cleaning out the pumpkin, save the seeds. Toasted pumpkin seeds are a light and healthy snack. You can use an ice-cream scoop to extract the pumpkin pulp if you want to avoid getting your hands dirty.
- Before starting to carve (there is no “undo” button on pumpkins!), you can draw – using a pen or marker – or tape the outline of what you want to carve, or use a razor blade, push pin, or a nail.
- The top is the toughest and hardest part to cut off. You’ll definitely want at least a knife with some teeth. Cut through at a 45-degree angle so the top doesn’t fall through into the pumpkin. Tom Nardone at extremepumpkins.com uses a drywall saw.
- Some also suggest cutting the bottom of the pumpkin. It’ll be easier to clean and will make the pumpkin bottom flat, making it infinitely more stable and easier to carve.
- If you’re going to place a candle in your jack-o’-lantern, remember that you need a “chimney.” Keep the lid off or cut a hole in the back, which passersby won’t see, and never, ever, leave a lit lantern unattended. Electric or battery-operated flameless candles are a safe alternative.
- Pumpkins rot. For a longer life, you can soak the clean, empty pumpkin in water with a little bit of bleach (a blogger at about.com suggested one teaspoon per gallon of water); or you can spray your finished pumpkin with a bathroom cleaner that contains a bit of bleach. This will keep bugs, mold and animals away, according to Nardone.
- Of course, to avoid all of this, you can just paint and draw on your pumpkins or dress them, without carving them.
Check out this Youtube video, featuring Kari Byron (Everday Genius & Mythbusters), for a kid-safe way to carve your Jack O’Lanterns this Halloween!