How to Carve a Pumpkin

How to Carve a Pumpkin

Five easy steps to jack-o’-lantern supremacy

by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson | October 24, 2011

There’s nothing like a great jack-o-lantern to lure trick-or-treaters to your home. But, like anything in life, a great jack-o-lantern starts with a great canvas. Find a pumpkin that has smooth, orange skin, sits on a flat surface, and is firm. Its stem should be at least two inches long. Now that you’ve found your perfect pumpkin, here’s how to carve it.

You will need:

• A small, serrated knife

• An ice cream scooper or kitchen spoon

• Vaseline

• Felt-tip marker or stencil

• Newspaper


• Thumb tacks or push pins

• Stencil

• Fork

• Candle

Five easy steps to carving a pumpkin:

• Cut a circular opening that’s bigger than your fist into the bottom of the pumpkin. Carving from the bottom up gives the pumpkin a cleaner look, plus it’s safer. You won’t burn your hand when you try to light a candle and place the pumpkin over it.

• Use an ice cream scooper or a kitchen spoon to clean and scrape the inside. The pumpkin wall should be no more than one inch thick.

• Draw your design on your pumpkin using a felt tip pen, or download a stencil from the Internet. Attach the stencil to your pumpkin using push pins or thumbtacks. Poke along the cut lines with a fork.

• Carve along your cut lines. If you plan to use a votive, carve a vent hole at the top of the pumpkin. (Never leave a lit jack-o-lantern unattended for any length of time.) If a piece breaks you can use toothpicks to hold it together.

• Seal your cuts by dabbing on some petroleum jelly. That will prevent browning.

Now that you’ve carved your pumpkin, store it in a cool dark place, not room temperature, where it will rot quickly and attract fruit flies. Happy luring!

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