In the Bennington VT real estate market, Halloween is a special time for area children. Carving pumpkins is a way to spend some quality time with the kids. Follow these tips in order to make the process safe and fun for everyone. Send photos of your pumpkins to me, and I’ll post them on our blog!
Author: Rachael Stone
Sometimes carving a pumpkin is a daunting task. Yet, it can be easy and straightforward. The first step is to choose the right pumpkin. Get one that is symmetrical unless your design wants your palette to be uneven. Whatever the case, you need your pumpkin to sit flat when on a flat surface. Watch out for blemishes when choosing your pumpkin. When you choose your pumpkin it is best to get one with smooth skin and a nicely shaped stem. Skip pumpkins that are cracked or have large flaws as they will be harder to carve and often don’t last as long.
You want to make sure that you start carving your pumpkins maybe around a day before Halloween, two days maximum. If you are in for a cold night make sure you bring the pumpkins inside. Coldness will dry it out.
Before you start the carving, the first and the most important thing you will want to do is use a water-based marker and draw the design. This way when you make a mistake you will be able to erase it easily using a damp cloth or sponge. Next you will want to use a sharp knife with a straight edge to cut large areas. Have a parent or responsible person do this for you if you are incapable. Do not use a knife with a dull blade. This will not be safe.
You will be able to pick up serrated saws from hardware stores for kids that want to join in on the action. Safety requires that you carve away from yourself and that youth remember to have adult supervision. Whether you are a child or an adult, do not carve your design holding the knife in a stabbing position. When you are carving, make sure that there is always a portion of the knife in the pumpkin at all times and make sure that you use steady strokes.
When you are cutting out the lid, this has to be done at an angle. The inside diameter of the lid has to be smaller than the outside. Getting this wrong will result in the lid dropping right into the opening of the pumpkin. You want to make sure that you can close the lid as you would put a lid on a cookie jar.
Remove the seeds and stringy flesh from inside the pumpkin with a large spoon or scoop. When you begin carving out the face on the pumpkin, make sure you start near the center and make your way outward. When it comes to carving out larger features, do so in sections. If you are going to be cutting out details, use an X-Acto-knife. For small circles and curves, a potato peeler is a great tool. Carved portions can be removed by either pushing them out from the inside or in from the outside.
Don’t upset yourself when a section is accidentally removed. It is easy to use a toothpick to keep it in position. If you are using a candle, make certain that there are enough holes for ventilation. Flatten a small area inside the pumpkin for the candle to stand, but try not to dig too deep into the pumpkin. This makes the jack-o-lantern spoil faster.
You also want to make sure that the flame of the candle does not reach the top of the pumpkin. You don’t want to start cooking it. If you want to make sure your pumpkin lasts long enough make sure you seal in the moisture. Use petroleum jelly and coat the cut surfaces. You can also use vegetable oil if no petroleum jelly is nearby. If you have neither, simply cover the entire pumpkin with a damp cloth or towel when it is not being used.
If you want you could also purchase some stickers, markers or tempera paint so your children can decorate their pumpkins. There is so much fun in carving pumpkins for Halloween. Always have an adult watch you if you are not too sure what to do. It is a fun process and it can be done together. Be careful when carving your pumpkin, and have fun creating the scariest pumpkin in the neighborhood that is going to make the rest of the kids stay far away or maybe even ask for ideas so they can carve one for next Halloween.