How to carve pumpkin for halloween

For this Halloween I decided to carve out a pumpkin in a different way, not our typical jack-o-lantern. It is a great family activity for the afternoon or even extend it to a multi-day activity. Here’s some simple steps:

Step 1: Select your pumpkin.

Once you’ve picked up your pumpkin, keep it in a cool dry place until you are ready to carve it. A carved pumpkin can only last a few days especially if you have lit a candle inside it.

Tip: Select your pumpkin with a design in mind. Use the natural shape of the pumpkin and stem and incorporate into your design.

Step 2: Select a simple design.

There are many sites online for free printable designs. Scale it to size to maximize the size of the design to make it easier to carve. Smaller designs are more challenging. Print it on paper.

Step 3: Use pins to keep your paper in place. 

Tip: Adjust the paper by making mini-folds (instead of bigger folds) to accommodate the curved surface of the pumpkin.
Start pinning! Basically you use a pin to trace the design from the paper and transfer it on to the pumpkin.

Step 4: Start carving using the pinned design.

You’ll end up with something like this. Can you see the design?

Tip: You can trace the design again using a pencil to make it easier to see.
Tip: I trace the entire outline first using an Exacto knife for more precise carving.
Step 5: Continue carving until you have carved out the design.
Tip: Use different size and tips of knife to make it easier to carve certain areas.
Tip: Using different thickness of the pumpkin flesh will determine how much light comes through. 
Tip: Cut through some parts of the design to let more light through and allow air.
Tip: Add texture by carving with the tip of the Exacto knife (see the “fur” on the cat”)
Tip: When lighting using a candle, use a tealight holder to keep the candle secure.
Tip: Keep the lid a little open to allow air for the candle to continue burning.

Do not leave your lit pumpkin unattended!

Extra!!  Wash and roast the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle with salt in a 350 degree oven until light brown!

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