Pumpkin Carving Tips

Jack o' lanterns are a traditional Halloween sign and the most recognizable symbol of Halloween. In the following post I tried to make it easy for anyone who wants to carve a pumpkin for  the first time to do this successfully. I searched the web up and down and here goes, ...

Tools you will need :
  •  A pumpkin  that is tall enough, width is not important.
  • Old newspaper for the mess. 
  • A basic pumpkin saw and pumpkin scoop scraper.
  • Paper towels, bowl and a regular kitchen knife.
  • A poker.
  • Scissors.
  • A stencil.
Steps for carving your Jack O' Lantern :

Draw and cut your lid
  • Draw a lid on top of your pumpkin using the poker. Try to make it  big enough so you can reach in with your hand to clean the pumpkin. Also make it a six-sided lid not a circle for ease of cutting.
  • With the kitchen knife (or basic saw) cut out your lid carefully. Angle the blade towards the center of the pumpkin to create a ledge that supports the lid and keeps it from falling in when it shrinks after a day or 2.
Clean and Scrape
  • Scrape the seeds attached to the bottom of the lid. 
  • Clean out the seeds and strings with the Scoop. Scrape the inner pulp further until the pumpkin wall is approximately 1" thick. You can use the scooped pulp for soup, pies, or other recipes.
  • Clean out the inner wall until smooth. Don't forget to scrape the bottom of the pumpkin till its flat so you can put your candles later. After you're done, clean out with some paper towels.
Attache Stencil
  • Attach the stencil with tape on the front side of the pumpkin and trim the stencil leaving a 1/2" border around the design to be easier to work with.
  • Use the poker , to make holes along the stencil lines.
  • When you transfer the whole design remove the stencil and refer to it while carving the holes you made in the outer pumpkin wall.
Carving The Stencil Pattern
  • Use the medium saws the most for the more complicated patterns.
  • Hold the pumpkin in your lap. Hold the saw like a pencil and saw steadily with a continuous up-and-down motion.
  • Saw at a 90° angle to the pumpkin steadily. Use gentle pressure because the saw can break if used incorrectly.
  • Generally, you first saw the smallest pieces or from the center out, and then work your way to the largest pieces. If you saw a piece by mistake, you can use a needle or toothpick to place it back. Push out the cut pieces with your finger and not by using your saw blade.
  • When done sawing, clean out the carved sections and the inner pumpkin as well with a paper towels.
Lighting up your Jack O' lantern
  • When using a candle, you can let the candle blacken a spot on the lid. Then cut a hole where the black spot is to vent smoke and heat. The hole will work as a chimney for heat and smoke.
  • If you create an opening from the bottom of the pumpkin instead of the top. Try drilling a hole in the bottom lid to secure the candle. This provides a little more safety and stability.

... there you go - your own Halloween pumpkin is now ready!
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