Halloween is around the corner and what represents the ‘Trick or treat’ tradition more than the classical Halloween pumpkin in front of your house door. While you can muddle through some of the simpler designs with serrated knives, tablespoons and a small nail, you’ll see some extravagant and scary carved pumpkins. Trust me; your kids might have a second thought before ringing the bell and asking for candy. I will give you some tips to get you a great pumpkin with not a lot of work before Halloween rolls around.
Cover your work area
Make sure to cover the countertop, table or floor with newspapers or a sheet of heavy plastic. This way you avoid leaving a big mess in the house. If you plan to carve lots of pumpkins, you should consider working outside where any debris can be hosed off or swept away.
Cut top or the bottom
Always decide this beforehand, in order to remove the seeds smoothly. If you want to cut a hole from the top, you’ll have an easy way to vent the heat from a candle. If you cut it however from the bottom, you’ll have easier access for an electric cord.
AND DON’T FORGET – determine how wide you will cut the access hole. The hole should be large enough to fit through your hand, as well as being able to use a spoon/ scraping tool. About 6 inches in diameter should be fine.
Use washable markers or waxy china pencils
Drawing right on the pumpkin with a normal pen or pencil can dent the flesh and a permanent marker may not wash off. Hence, use both washable markers and waxy china pencils or draw your pumpkin design on a piece of paper first. From that point on you can transfer your design to the pumpkin.
Moreover, choose which side will be the front. Then mark the back side and cut a slit in both the lid and the adjoining pumpkin edge. This will help to realign the liquid after carving.
Plan where to carve
This is a vital tip. Keep scraping the areas of the pumpkin you want to carve. Scraping the inner walls down to a thickness level of about an inch will allow knives to easily cut through the flesh.
After that you can begin to carve the design into the pumpkin. It is highly recommended to use paring knives, utility blades or pumpkin saws. Most of these tools will be available in grocery stores during October.
Cut too much out by mistake?
No worries, you might be able to repair that little mishap. Try to reattach a piece of pumpkin using toothpicks or straight pins. If this doesn’t work you might as well use that pumpkin for dinner.
Keep cut pumpkins in cool place
Most important tip as many people leave the pumpkin after they finished their work. You need to keep it in a cool place whenever possible. At least setting them inside large plastic bags may help to keep the pumpkin from drying out.
I hope these little tips and tricks will make your effort on carving the pumpkin more enjoyable and easier. Till then – ‘Trick or Treat!’