Choosing your pumpkin:
There are two methods of choosing your pumpkin to carve. The first way is my favorite. As you stroll through the pumpkin patch a certain individual pumpkin will jump out at you! That's the ONE! The other method is to have a pattern or face in mind and look for a pumpkin that will work with your design. Usually a large stem makes a nice addition to the pumpkin.
Remember!. The more unusual the better!
Cleaning the pumpkin:
Wash the outside of your pumpkin off with a damp rag and wipe dry. Store in a cool place until ready to carve.
Cut open the top of the pumpkin an clean out the inside seeds and and stringy pumpkin guts or brains. Remember to scrape it as clean as possible to make it easier to carve.
Carving: Have your pattern in mind before starting. There are many web pages of patterns you can print out and shrink or enlarge to fit your pumpkin face. Poke your pattern onto the face of the pumpkin with a toothpick or very fine point. This way you will have a map to follow when you remove the pattern and are cutting with the knife. Use a sharp, thin, kitchen knife or some of the pumpkin carving tools now available.
Ideas and Tips:
- Use an ice-cream scoop to clean out your pumpkin instead of bending your kitchen spoons.
- For a unique jack o'lantern, try using gourds for ears, tongues, etc.
- Some people have been known to use a jigsaw to carve pumpkins!
- Oops! If you make a wrong cut and need to make a repair try using toothpicks. Stick 1 inch into the pumpkin and leave about 1 inch sticking out. Attach the mistake onto the toothpick!
Tips to keep your pumpkin looking good!!
- Spray a mixture of lemon juice OR bleach and water over all cut surfaces and the inside when done carving.
- Apply a light coating of petroleum jelly on the cuts. It will seal the wound and the pumpkin will last longer.
- When not on display move your pumpkin to a cool area or refrigerator..
- If your pumpkin becomes very limp and saggy try soaking in a bucket of water for a few minutes.