Halloween Pumpkin Carving

By: Vidya Garapati (GV)

It's time for trick or treating once again! Bring out the scary costumes and decoration and transform your home into a house of horrors.

The most essential part of any horror house is a carved pumpkin. So, pick out a pumpkin of your choice and carve out the scariest face you can. Remember, the best carved pumpkins are the result of advanced planning. Plan your design and pick out your pumpkin accordingly. The size of the pumpkin should be determined according to the pattern. Pick only those pumpkins which are uniformly ripe and the same shade of orange all over. Your pumpkin should not have any cuts, nicks or bruises. Once you have chosen your pumpkin, make sure you have all the right tools needed for carving. To carve a pumpkin, you will need printer and paper, a spoon or pumpkin scoop, a small nail or pumpkin poker, a serrated knife or in case, the pattern is very complicated, a pumpkin saw. Once all your tools are ready, prepare the pumpkin for carving.

The first step is to cut a hole in the top for a lid. The angles of sawing should be inwards so that the lid sits on top of the pumpkin and does not fall through. The seeds and strings should be scooped out with a spoon or a scoop. Scrap off some of the flesh on the inside, leaving a thickness of about one inch all the way around. The pattern to be carved on the pumpkin can be printed out on the sheet of paper, and attached to the outside of the pumpkin using tape. In case the pumpkin is lumpy, dip the paper in water or vegetable oil. The wet paper makes it easier to smooth out the paper on the pumpkin. Poke holes through the pattern using a pumpkin poker. An alternative method is to use a wet marker or removable marker to draw the pattern on the pumpkin rind. Push in the nails at the point where you want to start the carving. Remove the paper and dust flour or chalk powder over the pumpkin so that the holes can be easily seen. Pumpkins become weak once the carving starts, so be careful. Carve the smaller designs first and the larger ones later. This prevents the pumpkin from breaking. You don't want your jack-of-lanterns to become a broken shell. Use a serrated knife to carve out the pattern in a sawing motion. For making curves, turn the saw slightly and to carve angles, remove the saw and reinsert it. The pieces of the pumpkin should be pushed from the inside. Once the entire pumpkin has been carved, light a pumpkin light or a candle on a piece of tin foil and place it inside the pumpkin. Cover it with the lid. Remove the lid after a minute and you will see a smoke mark on it. Cut a vent where the smoke-mark shows and your pumpkin is ready.

To get the ghoulish effect, a pumpkin must be well lit. Candles are the most popular choice for lighting pumpkins. A regular votive candle placed inside a glass holder lasts for a longer time and is safer and brighter than an open candle. Several companies have launched special lights for pumpkins. You might want to try one of those. Glow sticks are another option for lighting pumpkins. They give of an eerie glow which can look quite dramatic.

Pumpkin carving is fun. But, unless you take certain precautions, it could turn into a disaster. Since carving involves a lot of sharp objects, it is best not to let children handle them without adult supervision. Always carve away from yourself and never hold the knife in a stabbing position. Take care to keep a portion of the knife blade in the pumpkin and use slow, steady saw strokes to avoid accidents. Trust me; you don't want to mutilate yourself. When the pumpkin is being lighted, make sure that the candle flame is not too close to the top of the pumpkin. Keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case!!

To make your carved pumpkin last longer, coat all cut surfaces with vegetable oil or petroleum jelly. This seals in the moisture and keeps the pumpkin fresh for longer. Cover the pumpkin with a damp towel when it's not on display.

Now that you have all the instructions and tips on pumpkin carving, go ahead and carve the scariest looking pumpkin ever!

Family Events
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Family Events