How to Carve Halloween Pumpkins
Carve the Perfect Halloween Pumpkin
1. Pick the Perfect Pumpkin
"Never choose a pumpkin that has nicks or bruises unless you are carving itthat day," says Lisa. "Nicks and bruises mean that the pumpkin is already starting to rot." Also, knock on the surface like you would knock on your neighbor's door. The harder the pumpkin, the more difficult to carve, but the longer it will last. And keep in mind that heavily ridged pumpkins look beautiful (kind of how you imagine a jack-o'-lantern should look), but those ridges make it difficult to apply a pattern! It's a lot easier to transfer a pattern onto a smooth sided pumpkin.
2. Use the Right Tools
Carving rule #1: No knives! Pumpkin carving saws are safe and inexpensive and most grocery and drug stores carry them this time of year. But you don't have to use a saw to create a beautiful pumpkin. A melon baller can be used to scoop out various sized circles for a great polka dot effect. Handymen can use their drill to make small holes in a pumpkin, then place a translucent marble in each hole for a stained glass effect. An apple or vegetable paring tool can create beautiful shaded swirls—use them to just remove the outer surface flesh in stripes, and once lit, the pumpkin flesh in the removed areas will glow. If you have small "u" and "v" shaped chisels those are good too.
3. Carve It Right
Step one: Cut out a large hole in the bottom of your pumpkin, a little larger than your fist. (Most people carve out the top, but when lit, it's easier to remove the pumpkin this way and relight your candle!)
Step two: Use a pumpkin scoop or short handled spoon to scoop out all the goo until the inside is smooth and clean.
Step three: Tape your pattern if you're using one onto the pumpkin, and, using a poking tool (or a nail or even a sharpened pencil!), just barely poke through the pattern into the pumpkin flesh (about 1/8" deep), following the lines of the pattern. Remove the pattern. Rub a little flour over the dots to make it easier to see the pattern.
Step four: Using a carving saw, begin carving out the center or more delicate areas of your pattern first, working your way out section by section (this way the pressure from your hand won't break the design!).
Step five: use a candle or battery powered light to light your pumpkin. If your pumpkin is large and too heavy to lift off the candle when the flame goes out, use long fireplace matches to stick through the carved area and relight the flame.
Remember, whether you're carving free-form or using a pattern, forget about being perfect. It's all about having fun.
Video: 100 Best Pumpkin Carving Ideas Halloween 2018
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