Fall is definitely the season of the pumpkin—pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pies, pumpkin candles and of course pumpkin carving! It’s always fun to do it as a family or with friends. The LC is having a pumpkin-carving contest, and you can enter from now until Halloween. Check out our tips and you just might win! If anything, you can at least impress your family with your awesome pumpkin!

Choosing a Pumpkin

Choose a large pumpkin because they’re easier to carve. Avoid any pumpkins with bruises or moldy stems (ew!), as they will spoil much faster. Try to find a lighter colored pumpkin because they tend to be softer and easier to carve.

Cutting the Top

When cutting out the top, place the knife at a 45-degree angle. By doing so, the lid will have a place to rest when you replace it. Otherwise, the lid will fall right through!

Cleaning Out the Pumpkin

Time to get rid of those pumpkin guts! Many stores now sell spoons made specifically for this task, but if you don’t find one, use a large, heavy metal serving spoon or an ice cream scoop to scrape the insides. If you like toasted pumpkin seeds (yum!), save the seeds while you’re cleaning the pumpkin. When you’re scraping, make the back wall of the pumpkin as smooth as possible because this is where the light will be reflected.

Choosing a Pattern

If this is your first time carving a pumpkin or if you aren’t very nimble with a knife, you should select a simple, bold pattern. Once you master the simple patterns, you can move on to something more daring.

Cutting Out the Pattern

There are several sites that offer free, printable patterns. Find one you love and tape the pattern to your pumpkin. If you bought a pumpkin-carving kit, you can use one of the tools to poke holes along the lines of your pattern. If you don’t have a kit, you can use a nail or knife, but be careful. After all, no one wants a pumpkin with human fingers in it!
Once the pattern is visible, use a serrated knife or a pumpkin-carving knife to cut through the thick flesh. Take your time cutting along the edges, using a sawing motion.

Lighting Your Pumpkin

After your work of art is complete, place the candle on a fireproof base large enough to accommodate the pumpkin. Make sure you leave the lid off to avoid any fire hazard.  Use glow sticks or fake candles as a safer alternative. Now light your pumpkin, step back and admire at your masterpiece!
Now that you’ve become a pumpkin-carving expert, go ahead and enter your creation into our contest! We’ll select a winner every day until Halloween. Good luck!<

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