To get started, you need a pumpkin. Where do you get a pumpkin? Well, it can be as simple as running out to the closest Walmart or grocery store and dig one out of their bins. But if you are feeling more adventurous, I highly recommend making an event out of it and taking your family to the closest Pumpkin Patch and hand pick your own pumpkins. Fulton Farms in Tipp City is probably one of the largest pumpkin patches in the Dayton area. You can either take one of their hayrides out to the patch and hand pick one of their pumpkins or they have pre-picked pumpkins that range in size sitting at their store front, which is convenient if you want to just make a quick trip.
Now that you have your pumpkin, you can start by choosing a pumpkin carving pattern or design and then draw your design on the pumpkin using a water-based marker. A water-based marker is nice because when you make a mistake you can erase it easily with a damp sponge. Once you have your design drawn, you can start by cutting out the top. A good tip for when you are cutting the top is to cut at an angle so that the outside diameter is larger than the inside. This prevents the top from falling into the pumpkin when it shrinks. Now comes the icky part! Scrape out all the guts of the pumpkin and set aside. If you like, you can salt and then bake the cleaned up pumpkin seeds in the oven for a yummy snack later! I found this recipe at Simple Recipes.
Some more good tips for you when you are carving is always use a sharp, straight edged knife; a dull blade is not as safe as you make think it is. Also, be sure to carve away from yourself and never hold the knife in a stabbing position. Consider giving smaller children stickers, tempera paint, or markers to decorate their own pumpkins if you are concerned about them using a knife.
When you start carving the facial features, start with the features closest to the center first and then work your way out. You can use an X-Acto knife or the tip of a potato peeler for fine detailed areas. When you are removing the carved portions, gently push them into or out of the pumpkin. If you accidently remove a section that you didn’t intend to remove, you can use toothpicks to pin it back in place.
Now it’s time to light ‘em up! Be sure that the candle is sitting in a flat spot on the bottom of the pumpkin. You may need to dig a little to create a flat spot but be sure not to dig too deep because the pumpkin may become more prone to rot. When placing the candle into the pumpkin, make sure that the flame is not too close to the top. To prolong the life of your now oh so scary pumpkin, you can seal in the moisture by coating all cut surfaces with petroleum jelly or vegetable oil, or cover it with a damp towel when not on display. Also it would be best if you plan on carving no earlier than a day or two before you want them to be displayed whether it is for Trick or Treating or a Halloween party. And lastly, it is recommended to bring any porch pumpkin indoors on nights when the temperature is expected to drop below freezing.
Tips courtesy of Family Fun
About the Author:
Erica’s has an Associates of Applied Science from Sinclair and has been a member of Krispin’s Design staff since 2001.