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2020 Pumpkin Carving - Make your Halloween Pumpkin Glow!

Halloween Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins is a fun Halloween tradition. A Halloween pumpkin carving party, with family or friends, is almost as much fun as Halloween night. The party almost always includes hot, crisp pumpkin seeds, fresh from the oven.

Pumpkin Carving History- Pumpkin carving comes from ancient Celtic (Irish) traditions.  At the time, they didn't carve pumpkins. They carved Turnips and Rutabagas. About carving turnips for Halloween.

Pumpkin carving is not just for Halloween. There's a growing trend to carve and to decorate pumpkins for Thanksgiving, too. Fall themed stencils are used at Thanksgiving.

For the record: Just so you can show your Pumpkin and Jack O Lantern expertise........ A pumpkin is a beautiful round, orange fruit that comes from the garden. A Jack O Lantern is a pumpkin that has been carved.

Preparation and Cleaning:

When selecting pumpkins for carving, lighter colored ones carve easier, as they are softer. The downside is they do not last as long.

Pick pumpkins with a nice stem, and a carvable face. The unique shape of each stem gives your Jack O Lantern character.

Clean the pumpkins off, by washing them off with plain water and a sponge. Allow to dry.

Keep your pumpkins outside, or in a cool place, until you are ready to carve them.

Cut open the top of the pumpkin  (the "lid") and clean out the inside seeds and guts (humorously called "Pumpkin Brains"). Be careful not to pull hard on the stem, as it breaks easily.

Tip: When cleaning the inside of your Jack O'Lantern, scrape the inside wall to an inch thick. This makes carving a lot easier.

Set the seeds aside for cooking pumpkin seed snacks or for saving seeds to plant next year.

Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips:

Here are some simple tips which will help to make your pumpkin carving event a safe one:

Do not let a young child use a knife....ever.

Always point knives away from you.

Keep your free hand away from the direction of the knife.

Use slicing motions, and never force the knife.

When using candles to light your Jack O'Lantern, do not leave it unattended. For indoor lighting, we recommend battery operated lights for safety.

Carving Pumpkins:

Select your design. Have the kids draw a picture of what they want their Jack O Lantern to look like. Even a toddler can draw a pumpkin, and it always comes out just the way he or she wanted it.

We recommend a pumpkin carving knife. It is designed for carving pumpkins, and is less likely to cause injury.

For younger children, keep the design simple The fewer curves, angles, and cuts, the better the result.

Once you have mastered carving a pumpkin, you can graduate to a pumpkin carving design, or create your own. There are a wide variety of designs and are limited only by your imagination. To use a design,:

  • Buy or make your own.

  • Pick one that is sized for your pumpkin. Use a copier, to enlarge or shrink it, if need be.

  • Transfer the design to the pumpkin. You can trace it with a small knife, a nail, a marker or a pencil.

  • Slowly begin to cut out the pattern.

  • Slow is the operative word, as a mistake can alter or ruin the outcome.

Halloween pumpkin carving parties are not complete without roasting the pumpkin seeds you have taken out of your carved pumpkin. See Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe.

Pumpkin Carving Tips:

* Use an ice-cream scoop to clean out your pumpkins, instead of bending your kitchen spoons.

* Select carving patterns or stencils that fits your age and expertise level.

* For a unique jack-O'Lantern, add a little glow paint, or fake blood.

* Insert a bowl into a carved pumpkin and add dry ice and warm water to create an extra spooky, smoke filled jack-o’-lantern.

Making your Pumpkin Last:

Apply a light coating of petroleum jelly on the cuts. It will seal the wound and the pumpkin will last longer. After carving, place the pumpkin in a cool, dark place. It will spoil quickly, if left at room temperature, and will attract fruit flies.

Did you know? You can often revive shriveled Jack O Lantern, by soaking them in a bucket of water.


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