5 Pumpkin Carving Tips for Halloween
It’s that time of the year again. The leaves are falling, the nights are drawing in, and there’s a chill in the air.
The start of autumn means the kids can’t stay out playing so much, but Halloween and Bonfire Night give you plenty of opportunities for fun family activities.
Carving pumpkins is one of the classics, but before you pick up your ghoulish gourds in Cambridge, check out our pumpkin carving tips!
1. Start with the right pumpkin
Pumpkins come in all shapes, sizes and colours – and they all come with unique Halloween design possibilities. A narrow pumpkin with lots of wrinkled lines could make a weird witch’s face, while a misshapen squash comes with all kinds of ghoulish possibilities. Before you make your choice, check that it is fresh and has a sturdy stem, so it can darken your doorway for days to come.
2. Cut the top carefully
It’s easy to cut straight down around the stem of your pumpkin – but if you put the top back on later, it’ll drop inside (and possibly onto a naked flame). The best way to remove the top is to cut at an angle, so the lid is a cone shape. If you’re really clever, you can cut a simple jog-shape into it, so it’ll fit back at the same place every time. This is the toughest part of a pumpkin to cut, but a boning knife should do the trick.
3. Scoop out the goop – and keep it
You can buy a special pumpkin-carving ‘claw’ to scoop out your pumpkin’s innards, but an ice cream scoop will work just as well. This is messy work, but the kids will enjoy it. If you scrape around the sides from top to bottom, you should stay fairly clean. Don’t throw this away – pumpkin seeds are fantastic roasted as a snack, or to decorate cakes, and you can make pumpkin puree from the innards.
4. Carve the pumpkin in your lap
Now it’s time for the fun part. Draw on your pumpkin’s features with a marker pen or use a stencil. It’s easier to carve when the pumpkin is looking up at you. Cut straight down to get the best effect – try using a small saw or a special pumpkin carving tool. You don’t have to cut out chunks of pumpkin; you can create more intricate designs by shaving it for a two-tone effect.
5. Get creative!
Pumpkins are a great blank canvas to let your imagination run wild. Why not decorate yours with props: use masking tape as bandages, or woodchips as teeth. If you want to keep little hands away from sharp objects, then painting your pumpkin works just as well. Get kids to paint their own design or decorate a pumpkin you’ve already carved to give it more colour and character.
Pumpkin carving is a great activity all the family can enjoy at Halloween. Get additional accessories to jazz up your pumpkins from stores in Lion Yard.