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Pumpkin Carving 101: Creating Your Jack o’ Lantern

October 13th, 2020 by tisner

Now, Pumpkin Carving 101 presents the fun stuff–carving your pumpkin!  Using your tools, you will find creating your pumpkin art is easier than you may think!  A few days before you will be displaying your pumpkin, gather everything you need, and follow these tips:

Cleaning out the pumpkin is messy, and best done on a paper-covered table or done outside.  Before you get started, wipe the outer shell with some kind of disinfectant cleaner to help stop the growth of natural germs that break down the pumpkin.  Instead of cutting out the top for a lid, remove a circle in the bottom or a square in the back.  This will make placing your light much easier.  Use your carving tool kit’s scraper to remove the fibers and seed from the inside of the pumpkin.  Once the inside is clean of seeds and pulp, use a solution of ten parts water to one part bleach to spray the inside of the pumpkin to help stop it from molding quickly.

Traditional jack o’ lantern faces are great and always a hit, but if you are looking for a little more for your carving, use a template!  Choose from these printable templates available from SheKnows, or create one of your own!  Your stencil should be complementary to your skills, or if the kids are helping, find an easy one, and print.  Tape it to your cleaned-out pumpkin, and use a push pin to create a dot-to-dot line.  This creates a dot-to-dot pattern. Saw along these lines using your kit’s small saw or any pointed serrated knife. You may find more scraping necessary to remove the thick inside of the pumpkin once all of your cuts have been made.

Once the carving is complete and the mess is cleaned up, it will be time to preserve your giant squash as well as choose a light source. Battery-operated tea lights are perfect for lighting your jack o’ lantern, and last for several hours, as well as being safer than a traditional candle.  Once you purchase an inexpensive pack, replace the batteries when the old ones die, as the LED bulbs inside last much longer than any wax tealight candle.  Find more tips for keeping your jack-o’-lantern fresh and lighting ideas in this article from HGTV.

Keep the pumpkin-carving safe:  supervise younger children, and even help them when they want to use tools to cut the pumpkin’s new face.  Most children love cleaning out the “guts” of the pumpkin, so for a healthy treat, have them pick out some seeds for washing and roasting.  Most of all, have fun, and make memories!

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