October is here, which means pumpkin season is in full swing! It’s likely that you’ll see a pumpkin patch around almost every corner during the fall season. Pumpkin carving is a popular pastime in the fall, whether you do it alone or with friends and family. Do you always struggle with carving the perfect pumpkin? Here are a few tricks that can help make the process easier and less stressful.
Fancy tools are unnecessary.
A simple kit under $10 is all you really need for a classic jack-o’-lantern. You can add paring knives and precision blades for more detailed work, but don’t let the big corporations fool you into dropping a large sum of money on a carving kit. You could even use items completely from home that you have already if you’d rather not buy anything new. Lemon zest ears can create different textures, melon ballers can hollow the pulp out and scrubbing sponges can help smooth your surface.
Choose an imperfect pumpkin.
You don’t have to spend your entire day looking for a perfectly smooth gourd. As long as it doesn’t have any soft spots, you can choose one that may not look as classic as you would typically envision. If you already have a carving pattern in mind, bring it with you to choose the best shape. You may need a taller, more slender pumpkin or a classic round shape. This is why it’s good to know what your plan is for carving before you look.
Begin carving from the bottom.
Cut your pumpkin open from the bottom instead of the top around the stem. When you pull from the bottom, many of the seeds and stringy pulp will come out with it which helps with half of your cleaning job instantly.
Save time with extra scooping.
Use a large metal spoon or a scooper to scrape down the inner walls of your pumpkin. Do this until the walls are about an inch thick, which will cut down your carving time dramatically.
Trace your pattern.
Give the front of your pumpkin a good cleaning. Trace the design you plan on carving with a ballpoint pen or permanent marker to have a solid outline of where you’ll need to carve.
Include little ones.
If pumpkin carving is a family event, let the kids join in on the fun. Give them a few easier tasks that don’t pose a risk for injury, such as scooping out the pulp and separating seeds to roast later for a healthy fall snack.
If carving is too tedious and you’d rather have an easier option for decorating your pumpkin, there are plenty of sticker kits available that provide an easy alternative. You can also use a water-based paint to create a work of autumn art.