Have you carved your pumpkins yet? (If you don’t go in for all that Hallowe’en-y stuff, you should probably stop reading now.) I just finished mine today. I don’t like to carve them too early (despite the desperate pleas of my Little Boo), because, you know, I don’t like them to rot before the big night. Also, the big kids in this neighbourhood can be jerks sometimes, and I’d like our Jack O’Lanterns to survive to do their job. Our pumpkins have been sitting all nekkid on our front walk for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve been itching to get my carve on.
- Line your work surface with newspaper to make clean-up a snap (or fold, whatever).
- Have plenty of paper towels to wipe your hands and/or the pumpkin.
- You will need a heavy, sharp knife to cut the top off your pumpkin; something with which to scoop out the pumpkin guts (I love the serrated plastic spoon above that my friend gave me, but a ladle works too); a smaller knife, or special battery-operated cutting tool to carve your design (I don’t know where I got mine, but it’s like a mini-jigsaw and it is AMAZING!)
- When you cut the top (lid) off your pumpkin, be sure to cut in on an angle so you can lay the lid back on afterwards.
- I always use two bowls for the debris, so I can separate out the seeds for roasting as I go.
to be scooped
Pumpkin Masters (My Jack O’Lantern pictured below is their Ichabod’s Fate.)
Disney Character Templates, from Disney
Spoonful – courtesy of Disney (these are non-Disney patterns)
Better Homes and Gardens
|You can see how complex the pattern can look without context.
Refer to the template if you need a reminder.
As I mentioned, I use a battery-operated carving tool. I find it much quicker and easier than the knives I used to use. You do need to remember to poke it into the flesh first before you turn it on. Another tip – it is easier to remove small pieces from your carving. You can poke pieces through as you go (this will also start to give you a feel for the end result), or wait til the end. If you wait til the end of the carving, you may need to make additional cuts to be able to ease pieces out without breaking your design. Also, I find I often need to do a little trimming of the flesh to make the design stand out, especially with a larger pumpkin. Sometimes the angle of your cuts will leave a lot of flesh visible in the eyes, for instance, and that will affect how your pumpkin looks when lit. Trim it off for a clean end result.
There he is! My beauty. Just add a candle, and he is good to go. I do use candles still, but I use a votive in a glass holder. The holder protects from accidental firestarters, as well as protects the candle from the night breezes that would like to blow it out. I have tried battery-operated lights and glo-sticks, but they don’t provide the effect I am going for.