One of the most endearing family activities this time of year is making jack-o-lanterns! And with Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to get carving! Use these five tips and tricks to make the process simple, fun and (not too) messy! And decorate your Belclaire porch with the finished product!
1. Keep your space as clean as possible:
Pumpkin carving can get messy quick since pumpkins are full of slimy seeds and what kids commonly call “pumpkin guts.” One trick for keeping things neat is to move outside and cover your workspace (grass or outdoor living area) with old newspapers or trash bags. Spread them out on the ground where you plan to carve and when you’re done, simply fold up the newspapers or trash bags and take them straight to the garbage.
2. Plan in advance:
Before you start the pumpkin carving process, one of the most efficient ways to get the design you want is to plan it out. Print or draw out your design and tape it to the pumpkin, being careful to line it up exactly where you’d like it. Take your pumpkin carving tool (commonly sold in most grocery and party supply stores) and carefully poke holes directly on the design and into the pumpkin. Remove the paper with the design and voila, your stenciled design is on your pumpkin!
3. Consider shaving:
Thinking outside of the box can lead to some very creative pumpkins. One way to make a fun jack-o'-lantern without carving is with shaving. Taking off only the top layer of the pumpkin will thin out the background of the design, giving a more inverted and back-lit look to your design. One of the best tools for shaving a pumpkin is called the linoleum block cutter. The “v” shaped blades make it easy to move around the pumpkin's shell and they are available at most art supply stores.
4. You don't need the perfect pumpkin:
It can be easy to get hung up on both finding the perfect pumpkin shape AND making your design look perfect on the pumpkin. When it comes to pumpkin carving, the less perfect, the better. Most designs look even more interesting on oddly shaped pumpkins, plus an unusual pumpkin shape can add character to a design.
5. Cut the bottom rather than the top:
Cutting a hole in the bottom of your pumpkin, rather than the top, has several benefits. It won't take as long to seed it, plus the stem will remain intact, adding more character to your finished product. It will also be easier to light it up at night since that will only require setting the pumpkin on top of the light, rather than sticking your whole arm in (yuck!).
Pumpkin carving is an activity everyone in the family can enjoy. Make it a family tradition for Halloween each year! Happy Halloween and pumpkin-carving from our Belclaire family to yours!