Pumpkins are one of the essential accessories for Halloween. We always have at least one pumpkin in our house. Usually more as we take at least one over to Aunty’s house for her annual Halloween Party. I’m usually the one who scoops out the insides, while Chris carves out the design. I think between us we are becoming Pro’s. So I thought why not share our expertise and tips on how to carve the perfect Halloween Pumpkin.
Get your timing right! If you buy and carve your Halloween too early, It will go rotten and smelly before Halloween even comes around. They are usually at their best until they are a week and half to two weeks old. So the best time to buy your them is a week to ten days before Halloween.
Pick the best Pumpkin! Try and select a healthy looking pumpkin, free from nicks or bruises. The colour should be consistent all round. The pumpkin should sound hallow if tapped and indicates it’s ripe. The stalk should be firm,not soft, as should the bottom, if not it may be showing signs of rotting.
Selecting a design! Novice pumpkin carvers should select a simple bold design. As you master the basics you can then start moving on to more intricate designs.
Cutting the Pumpkin! Having the right equipment is a must have. A long, sharp serrated knife will do best. However, there are some great Pumpkin carving kits on the market, which come with cutters, stencils and scoops! To cut out the lid, cut into the pumpkin at a 45 degree angle. cutting straight down will cause the lid will fall through! Cut with a sawing motion, to ensure you make it through the flesh. The best way to cut out your design is to draw it on the pumpkin with a water based marker. Then cut on the outside of your markers. You can however use stencils too!
Scooping out the Inside! Either use a pumpkin scoop, ice cream scoop or heavy metal serving spoon. Scrape down the inside of the pumpkin, in a circular motion until all the strings and seeds are free from the wall. They should then come out in one scoop. Scrape it as smooth as possible as this is where the light will be reflected and enhance the spooky effect.
Clean your Pumpkin! Soak the Pumpkin in a light bleach water for a few hours, this will pro long the life of it. Dry it thoroughly to prevent any mould growing. Once dried, rub it inside and out (including the cut edges) with vegetable oil. This will help prevent shrivelling, if you do notice shrivelling, repeat the process. When not in use, the pumpkin can be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Scenting the Pumpkin! Sprinkle and dust the inside with cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves, doubling it as an air freshener!
Lighting! LED candles make a perfect safer alternative to real candles, especially if you have lots of little ones running about. If you prefer the real thing or you want to use the spices, then place your candles in a tea light holder or a votive Candle in a glass. To keep the lid on then cut a small hole in the back to act as a chimney. Lastly, never leave a Pumpkin with a live flame burning unattended for any amount.