Tips for Carving a Great Halloween Pumpkin

Want to carve a great pumpkin this year and have it stand out from the crowd? Follow these simple tips to get going and stay safe at the same time. Getting Started Find a pumpkin that has a stem and that has the right shape for the design you want to create. Odd shapes can make for great canvases depending on what you're looking to carve. Draw your design on the pumpkin with a marker or a pen first. When you get started, cut the lid on an inward angle with a sharp, straight-edged knife. This prevents the top from falling into the pumpkin when it starts to shrink. Clean out the guts This is the fun, messy part of the process. Well, fun for some people at least. No matter how you feel about the ooey-gooey insides, it's important to get everything cleaned out as best you can. Pumpkins that do not have seeds and pulp fully removed can mold and rot faster. Carving If you want to have your pumpkin looking its best on Halloween, don't carve until 2-3 days before. And once you start carving, don't plan on stopping. It's best to work on your pumpkin from start to finish in one sitting if at all possible. Start carving at the center of your design and work outward. Cut larger features in sections. While you're carving, it's best to keep a portion of the knife blade in the pumpkin and use slow, steady strokes. Save the features Pumpkins lose moisture when they're carved, so the features of your carving will change as this loss occurs. You can spray your pumpkin with a water bottle to slow down the process, especially while carving if you're working on an intricate design. You can also slow down the dehydration process by applying petroleum jelly with a cotton swab to all the cut edges.

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