Monday, September 27, 2010

How To Carve A Halloween Pumpkin

Pumpkin carving can be messy, so, cover your counter-top, table, or floor with something like  newspapers or  heavy plastic.

Decide what kind of lightening you are going to use.
When removing the seeds you'll be cutting off either the top or the bottom of the pumpkin.
If you cut a hole in the top, you'll have a vent the heat from a candle.
If you cut off the bottom, you'll have  better access for an electric light cord.

Decide how wide to cut the access hole, just make sure it's large enough for your hand to fit through.

You can either draw your jack-o-lantern design on a piece of paper and transfer the design to the pumpkin, or  you can also draw right on the pumpkin.

After you have drawn the circular area for the lid or bottom, start your cutting with a knife or one of those pumpkin saws sold in kits.
We like using dinner table steak knives because they cut faster.
The saws are somewhat fragile and take longer to cut out the opening and if you apply too much pressure on the blade they may break.

Here's a nice little tip: by cutting the top out holding the knife at a 45 degree angle, with the tip of the knife pointing toward the center of the pumpkin.
This way the lid won't slip through the opening into the pumpkin.

Decide which side of the pumpkin will be the face side.
On the back side, mark with a little cut in both the lid and the corresponding pumpkin edge to remember how the lid should be sitting after carving.

Next comes the fun part, by digging in and pulling all of the guts out.
Scrape the remaining seeds and strings away from the sides and the bottom with a heavy serving spoon.

Now it's time to draw a face onto the pumpkin.
You can go freehand or trace a pattern especially designed for pumpkins.

Okay, it's time to begin carving the design.
We told you we like steak knives, you can also use paring knives, utility blades, exacto knives, wood carving tools, or those pumpkin saws and tools that are sold in kits.

You can test the look of your pumpkin by the use of a a votive candle or flashlight inside.
If you need to make adjustments in certain areas now's the time to do that.

Here's another tip: Coating all cut edges with petroleum jelly will help keep pumpkins from drying out.