Pumpkin Carving Tricks

Follow these tricks to impress your trick-or-treaters with your fabulous jack-o'-lanterns this year.

| October 30, 2007

Glowing, gruesome or giggly, carved pumpkins are a ubiquitous symbol of autumn, the end of harvest time and Halloween. It can be a fun tradition for friends and family to get together and transform this orange fruit into delightful or devilish jack-o'-lanterns.

There are a surprising number of pumpkin varieties beyond the traditional orange type you're used to. These are usually smaller and finer textured than traditional jack-o'-lantern pumpkins. There are even very unusual and flavorful heirloom pumpkins.

But at this time of year, most folks opt for the basic orange pumpkin that can be easily carved and illuminated by a candle placed inside. To find the best jack-o'-lantern pumpkin, look for one with a flat bottom and at least one side that is nicely rounded for the face.

Carving Tips

Turning a pumpkin into a jack-o'-lantern is a simple, fun process, but it can be a bit messy. While kids love to be involved, the truth is that cutting into a pumpkin takes some strength and dexterity. So, while young children can scoop out the insides and draw the design, it is best to let an adult do the actual carving.

To begin, cut a “cap” out of the stem end of the pumpkin. Aim the knife at an inward angle, instead of a perfectly vertical cut, creating a top that will fit back onto the shell without falling inside.

Use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds and fibrous flesh in the center of the pumpkin. Cut the fibers hanging from the cap so they do not hang down onto the lighted candle. You can use an apple corer to make a vent hole in the cap and to create a “candle holder” in the bottom of the pumpkin.

Debbie Harris
10/27/2007 12:00:00 AM

When cutting the lid, cut a little jog, like a triangle or tooth, so you know where to put the lid on exactly, when you are done...also, shave away inside, around the eyes, mouth, lid, etc.,to make the openings wider. You can do this from the outside of the pumpkin, by using a smaller knife, poked through the actually hole for the eye, nose, etc.

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