Today: Jun 16, 2024

Get creative with this do-it-yourself craft: pumpkin carving

Mackenzie Hurlbert – Copy Editor

I may be getting ahead of myself here, but this windy weather and changing leaves is causing me to crave Halloween. ‘Tis the season for candy corn, trails of terror, and, of course, Jack o’ Lanterns. As pumpkins line the walls of the local grocery stores and garden centers and pumpkin lattes grow evermore popular, I think it’s time to pull out the marker, scooper, and knife and get to carving. For those of you who have carved pumpkins previously, may this serve as a reminder; for those who have never carved a pumpkin and aren’t afraid of getting a little messy, I suggest you try it out!

All you need is:

Photo Courtesy | hgtv.com
A metal spoon is a tool needed for the carving.

-Newspaper and a trash bag

-A large pumpkin

-A serrated knife

-A large metal spoon (designated scooper)

-A marker

1) The first and most important step is choosing your pumpkin. Depending on the image you plan to carve, you may prefer a certain shape or girth.

2) Prepare your carving area by lining the surface with plenty of newspaper and storing a garbage bag nearby.

3) In order to prepare the pumpkin for carving, you have to empty out its seeds and pulp, or what I call its “guts.” By using your serrated knife, cut a large circle around the stem of the pumpkin at an inward angle. This angled edge will allow the stemmed top to fit back into its spot after you gut the pumpkin.

4) Now that you have an opening to work through, use the large metal spoon or designated scooper to scrape out the insides of the pumpkin including all seeds and pulp. These can be thrown outside for the birds and squirrels. Once done, you should have a cavernous pumpkin with a removable lid.

Photo Courtesy | elliottbaybrewing.com
A carved pumpkin perfect for the upcoming season.

5) Next, pick a design or face for your pumpkin. The classical gap-toothed smile is always good, but for those who are more creative, design your own! Maybe draw out an angry grimace, an owl, or a pattern of falling leaves.  Whatever you choose, make sure the shape is simple enough to carve into your pumpkin. Jack o’ Lantern designs can also be found online if you have a specific character or image you wish to carve.

6) Once the image is chosen, transfer it onto the surface of the pumpkin. I usually free-hand draw it with a marker, however more complex designs may need you to use other methods. One way of transferring a design onto a pumpkin is to tape the design over its surface, and using a small knife or ice pick, poke holes along the lines of the design. Once you have finished, the design should be on the pumpkin’s surface, almost like connect-the-dots! This will make the next step easier because the cutting area will be already perforated.

7) Using the serrated knife, carefully cut along the drawn or perforated lines of the design. As I carve out the image, I find it easier to cut out little chunks at a time. Continue carving out the image until you have the desired design.

8) Wait until nighttime, then place a candle in the pumpkin through its lidded top, and watch as your creation glows with life!

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