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How To Carve a Pumpkin
You Will Need
  • A pumpkin
  • A pumpkin knife (save for kids) else a sharp knife
  • A crayon or marker
  • A large spoon or ice cream scooper
  • And a small candle, glow stick, or battery-operated light
  • Salt
  • Baking sheet
  • A carving template
  • A thumbtack
  • And petroleum jelly
step 1Choose pumpkin
Choose a pumpkin that’s large and smooth with a stem of at least 2". If you plan to put a candle inside, choose a gourd that’s at least 9" tall.
tip Pumpkins with smaller stems rot quickly.
step 2Draw circle or hexagon
Draw a circle or hexagon on the top of the pumpkin an inch or two below the stem. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, but make sure it’s a little bigger than your fist.
step 3Carve through pattern
Carve through the pattern with a pumpkin knife (if a sharp knife is use caution must be used). Angle your cut so the top of your circle is wider than the bottom, which will ensure that the top fits snugly in place.
step 4Remove top & clean out
Remove the top and clean out the pumpkin’s seeds and stringy membranes with the scooper. Continue scraping the inside until the walls are about half an inch thick—otherwise it will be hard to carve.
spacer tip For a delicious—and healthy—treat, wash and sprinkle the seeds with salt, and then toast them in the oven on a baking sheet.
step 5Draw face
Draw the eyes, nose, and mouth—or any other pattern you want, like perhaps Van Gogh’s famous painting “The Starry Night.”
spacer tip If you’re not good at drawing, find a carving template online or at a store. Fasten it to the pumpkin and use a thumbtack to poke holes along the lines.
step 6Cut through pattern
Use your knife to cut through the pattern you’ve just drawn. Remember that cuts that connect to each other will remove the entire piece in between, so cut around anything you want to stay intact, like teeth or a wart on the nose.
step 7Make cuts & scrapes
Make disconnected cuts and scrapes to allow the light from inside the pumpkin to shine through without removing whole pieces, a good technique for drawing outlines or scenes, or for creating more definition in a face—like glowing pupils.
tip To keep the edges from browning before the big night, dab on a little petroleum jelly to lock in moisture.
step 8Place candle
Place a small candle and light it when you’re ready to show off your work. If there’s a large opening level with the candle, like a mouth, light the flame through it so you don’t burn your hand.
tip If your flame is weak or keeps going out, it’s not getting enough oxygen—cut a small opening in the top of the pumpkin, hidden from sight behind the stem.
step 9Use glow stick or battery-powered light
If you’re not keen on having a real flame, use a glow stick or battery-powered light.
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