Halloween pumpkin carving isn't only a lot of fun, but it's a great homemade gift to give someone. Jack o lanterns also make festive Halloween decorations! Have you ever wondered how to pick out a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch or from the store? How do I get all the seeds and pumpkin guts out? What tools work the best to carve a jack o lantern? Watch and learn my friends! I have found these very informative videos to help you get through pumpkin carving 101.
Cutting the Lid
You'll need to cut an opening to remove the seeds and the soft flesh inside the pumpkin. Traditionally, this is done by cutting a lid on top to provide access to the in side of the pumpkin.
Cut a six-inch-wide circular opening around the top of the pumpkin using your cutting tool. Use a slow and even sawing motion and light pressure. Keep the tip of the blade pointed toward the center of the pumpkin. This creates a bevel that prevents the lid from falling into the hollowed out pumpkin. * This is important!! I have had jack o lanters go "topless" Because I cut straight down with my blade and the lid falls right into the pumpkin!
Another approach is to make the opening in the bottom of the pumpkin instead of the top. This makes it easier to light a candle inside the pumpkin, especially if the pumpkin is tall. If you go this route, you'll need a screw driver or butter knife to pry the lid from the sticky flesh under the thick rind.
Whether you go top or bottom, include a small notch in your lid. This will make it easier to replace it with the correct orientation.
Halloween pumpkin carving comes from a method used by the Celts to ward off evil spirits during Samuin (a festival where many of the traditions of Halloween come from). The Celts would hollow out turnips, then carve faces in them and place candles inside. The turnips were then either placed in the windows, to keep evil spirits from entering a home, or carried around as lanterns. This tradition eventually melded with the North American tradition of carving pumpkins.
There are many different options for selecting what character your pumpkin will be playing this Halloween. You can design your own by sketching out a large character or scene on your sheet of paper. It is important to leave edges big enough so that when carving your pumpkin the image has something sturdy enough to keep it up. *Remember that as your pumpkin dries out it will lose moisture and begin to shrivel up. If your pumpkin as many thin pieces, within only a day or two your pumpkin design will be unrecognizable.Another option is to use a Halloween Pumpkin Carving Pattern Book
Attach your personal drawing to the flattest side on your pumpkin by pinning it with either thumb tacks or small nails. Next use thumb tacks or push pins to outline your drawing by using them to punch holes along the pattern lines about an eighth of an inch apart.
Once you have poked holes into the pumpkin along the black outline remove the paper pattern and use a permanent marker to connect the dots. This will make the lines easier to see and the jack o lantern easier to carve.
Use a knife or otherPumpkin Carving Tools
to begin cutting out the various shapes of your design.
Once you are finished cutting the pieces, "Pop" each piece out of the pumpkin by pushing the cut pieces from the inside out. Wipe off the outside of the pumpkin to get rid of any marker lines that are still showing.
Once your Halloween pumpkin carving is finished place a candle or light on the inside of the pumpkin and you have a very cool porch character or decoration.