Pumpkin Carving Tips

Posted on October 31, 2005 at 01:14 AM

Having just carved a plethora of pumpkins this past weekend I thought I would offer a few words of wisdom to anyone out there who hasn't started carving their pumpkins yet. Or if you're already done, just file these away for next year.

Having problems lighting the candles in your pumpkin without burning yourself? Just light the end of an uncooked piece of long spaghetti and use it to light those hard to reach candles in your pumpkins. (Try to ignore the smell of burning pasta.)

In the past I've used bic pens, crayons, or sharpies to draw my designs. But the best way I've found to outline your pumpkin design is to use dry-erase markers. That way, if you don't like what you've done just wipe it off and start over.

Is your pumpkin abnormally tall and skinny? You might want to start carving your pumpkin from the bottom instead of starting at the top. From my own experience, trying to put a candle in the bottom of a tall and skinny pumpkin can be a nightmare. So when I use this type of pumpkin I like to clean it out from the bottom. That way it is easier to light the candle on the ground and then put the pumpkin over the top of the candle.

Do you hate how your pumpkin starts to shrivel up over time? Try the following:

  • Cover all cut portions of pumpkin in petroleum jelly. This will help keep in some of the pumpkin's moisture.

  • Soak your pumpkins overnight to add moisture.

  • Spray your pumpkins with a pumpkin preserver like Pumpkin Fresh.

  • Coat your pumpkin with WD-40. Don't believe me? This guy's done it.

  • Try to avoid lighting your pumpkins until Halloween night. Having a heat source, like a candle, inside the pumpkin will prematurely dry it out and begin the shriveling process.

  • Realize that once carved, your pumpkin is only going to last for about a week. So if you want your pumpkins to look really great on Halloween night, try carving them just a few days in advance.

Have any tips of your own? Feel free to add your own pumpkin carving tips in the comments below.

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I always open the pumpkin from the bottom. Keeps teh top from falling in, doesn't bleed light all over, offers more creative carving opportunities, and is sooo much easier to light.

As for WD40 to keep Jack from drying out - be certain to light it outside, as a flaming pumpkin is difficult to extinguish and can cause smoke damage to your home. (Still, much better than a dried pumpkin for sure.)

Posted by: But... | November 2, 2005 11:30 AM

Select an unbruised pumpkin, the size doesn't matter - although bigger is better. You can always enlarge your pattern; shrinking a pattern can get impractical for detail work. Check for discoloration and soft spots.

Posted by: Dental Salinas | December 11, 2009 03:18 AM

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