Halloween is the perfect excuse for having some fiendish fun with your little ones. If you’ve decided to have a go at carving pumpkins this year, check out our top tips!
(Don’t forget, you should always supervise little ones at all times)
Step One: Choosing the perfect pumpkin
- Nice round shape
- Fresh with a bright orange colour with no large blemishes
- Flat bottom for stablity
- A good stalk so you can easily remove and replace top
- A shape and size that suits your design ideas
Step Two: Gutting your pumpkin
You can choose to either remove the top of the pumpkin and scrape out the insides, or choose to open from the bottom. The latter has a few advantages, for example it keeps the moisture inside the pumpkin which will keep it fresher for longer, it’s easier to replace the candle inside and the pumpkin flesh will come out more easily.
Make a simple cut which is wide enough to allow you to effectively remove the innards. If you’re choosing to remove the top, inset your tool at an angle and cut around the top so that your lid will slot nicely back in place once you’ve cut it out. Use a large spoon or scoop to take out the innards and scrape the sides as thoroughly as you can. Make sure the bottom is flat so you can place a candle or battery powered tealight here (this can be a good alternative if you want to place your pumpkin on the floor and are worried about it being knocked over by excitable little ones/pets!)
Step Three: Be Creative
When it comes to creating your design, be as inventive as you dare! Choosing angular designs with lots of straight lines is a good idea if you’re a beginner. You could draw straight onto your pumpkin so you have a shape to follow, make a stencil and use this as a cutting guide, or even use a toothpick to poke little holes in your pumpkin following the shape your design, if you don’t want to leave a mark and want an easy means of keeping yourself within the lines. Carve slowly and carefully, making sure that little fingers are safely out of the way. Children should be carefully supervised.
Step Four: Keep things fresh
Pumpkins usually last for about a week but you can increase their life expectancy by spreading some Vaseline on the cut edges to seal in the moisture. If you notice your pumpkin is starting to go a bit off, pop it in some cold water for around 8 hours or rub some more Vaseline along the gourd. Silica gel packets are also a good alternative.
Safety Note: Vaseline and Silica Gel are both flammable so make sure you don’t light a candle whilst these are still present in your pumpkin, and ensure that any Vaseline you have used is fully dry.
Another nice idea is to sprinkle some cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves on to the inside of your pumpkin as when you light the candle this will then release lovely autumnal smells out into your home!