Some of the best and most memorable Halloween traditions involve pumpkin carving. Even though it can be a lot of work, it’s also a lot of fun. You can get together with the whole family and work on a pumpkin together or you can each take on your own pumpkin for a friendly family competition. Either way, you’re sure to build everlasting memories. Here are some helpful tips for any beginner carvers out there.
Choosing the Pumpkin
- Be sure to choose a big pumpkin that’s lighter in color, as these are easier to carve.
- Avoid pumpkins that have moldy stems or are sporting too many bruises. These will spoil faster.
- Flat-bottomed pumpkins won’t roll away from you while carving.
Hallowing Out the Pumpkin
- For a replaceable top, be sure to cut it at a 45 degree angle, pointing the knife towards the center of the pumpkin. This way, when you replace the top, it won’t fall through. Don’t forget to put a notch on the top and on the pumpkin so you know which way the top goes when replacing it.
- After cutting a hole, clean out the inside. Using a metal spoon, start scraping from the top and work your way down and then just dump everything out.
- Making your walls 1 inch thick is optimal. Anything thinner will rot and wrinkle, anything thicker would be harder to carve.
Carving the Pumpkin
- Plan it out ahead of time. If you’re going to freehand it, use a dry erase marker so it’s cleaner and easier to correct any mistakes.
- You can also use a template. After printing out a template, secure it to your pumpkin and then poke holes along the lines you need to carve.
- A serrated knife will be easiest to cut with.
- Start with the most delicate parts of the design.
- It’s better to work from the center and work your way out.
Preserving the Pumpkin
- For a longer lasting pumpkin, soak the finished pumpkin for two hours in a solution of 1 tsp of bleach to 1 gallon water.
- Cover the entire pumpkin with petroleum jelly, Vaseline, or vegetable oil in order to keep it hydrated so that it’ll last longer.
And there you have it, a little advice to make your pumpkin carving experience just a little easier. Most importantly, though, just have lots of fun, take pictures, and maybe even dress up to get into the spirit. If you have a great pumpkin design you want to share with us, send us a picture on Facebook (here) or tag us on Instagram at @purecostumes.
I'm a mother of two and constantly searching for ways to have adventures and create memories as a new family. I love all things Disney, I'm obsessed with family costumes, and I will find any excuse to dress up and celebrate.
Lisa plays the role of the Fairy Godmother on the Pure Costumes team.
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