It’s October and time for leaves changing color, cooler weather, and a really fun holiday — Halloween! One of my favorite Halloween traditions is pumpkin carving. No matter what, there’s always something that can go wrong when trying to make your own Jack-O-Lantern. Here are 4 tips to help ensure that your pumpkin carving experience this Halloween is a treat, not a trick!
- Choose a large pumpkin. The larger the pumpkin, the easier it is to carve. Avoid any pumpkins with bruises or moldy stems as they will spoil much faster. Pumpkins with a lighter color tend to be softer and easier to carve.
- When cutting out the top, place the knife at a 45 degree angle so the lid will have a place to rest when you replace it. If you cut straight down, the lid will fall through.
- When cleaning the pumpkin, save the seeds. Toasted pumpkin seeds make a healthy as well as tasty snack. Use a large, heavy metal serving spoon or ice cream scoop to scrape the insides. If you plan to light the pumpkin with a candle, the back wall should be scraped as smooth as possible since this is where the light will be reflected. A 1-inch thickness of the pumpkin wall is optimum.
- For longer life, soak the cleaned pumpkin a couple of hours in a bleach water solution of 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 gallon of water. Dry thoroughly, then rub inside and out, including all cut edges, with vegetable oil or petroleum jelly to prevent shriveling.