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How to Carve a Jack-O'-Lantern

How to Carve a Jack-O'-Lantern


How To Carve A Spooky

Carving a pumpkin is something most of us only do once a year for Halloween, so it’s useful to have multi-purpose tools that can be used for other things around the kitchen in the meantime.

Whether you’re using a stencil, a picture for inspiration or are free-hand drawing a design onto your pumpkin, the right bits of kit will make light work of carving spooky designs into seemingly impenetrable pumpkins. 

Below is our "how to" guide for designing and carving the best Jack-O'-Lantern in your street! 

Safety Tips:

  • Use the right tools. Carving with dull, flimsy blades is a recipe for disaster. 
  • Make sure your workspace is clean and dry.
  • While there are fun, family-friendly steps, we recommend that an adult handles the carving itself, since the tools required are sharp.
  • Jack-o’-lanterns might look best in the dark, but we recommend you always carve in a well-lit area for safety’s sake.
  • Use an electric tea light rather than a candle to reduce risk of a fire.
Step 1: Pick out the perfect pumpkin!
Whether you decide to peruse a pumpkin patch or head to your local supermarket, the options are endless: short and fat, tall and skinny, long stem or short, the list goes on and on! While overall size and shape don’t matter, here are two recommendations:
1. Select a pumpkin without bruises or soft, rotting parts
2. Look for a pumpkin with a flat bottom, so it won’t wobble while carving or tip over once your masterpiece is complete.
Step 2: Prepare Your Workspace
Carving a pumpkin is inevitably a messy endeavor, so clear a large workspace on the kitchen counter or table. 

What you'll need:
Large bread knife or carving knife
Serrated Paring knife 
Large spoon or melon baller
Large bowl
Cutting Board
Candle (a tea light or LED tea light)
Step 3: The First Cut

The most traditional lid is on top of the pumpkin. Using a Carving Knife or Bread Knife, carve a circle around the stem. A couple of pro tips: cut on an angle so that your lid will sit on the rim rather than fall straight through. You can also cut a notch into the lid so that it naturally slides back into the correct position.

Alternatively, you can cut a hole into the bottom of the pumpkin. This allows you to simply light the candle and set the pumpkin over it, and it also prevents the sides of the pumpkin from caving in.
Step 4: Hollow out the Pumpkin
Now comes the fun part for the kids! Use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to clean out the stringy pulp and seeds. Put it into a large bowl to make cleanup easy. Have your little helpers scrape the walls so that only the hard flesh of the pumpkin is left.

Pro tip: Don’t chuck those seeds in the trash—they belong in the oven! Clean the seeds, sprinkle with salt, toss with a little melted butter, and roast for 45 minutes at 200c. Pumpkin carving is hard work—you and your carving crew have earned a snack. Bon Appetit!
Step 5: Pick and Prick Your Design

Just like picking a pumpkin, there are endless options to choose from when it comes to design, and it really comes down to personal preference. You can either draw your design by hand directly on the pumpkin with a felt tip marker, or print out a design and transfer it to your pumpkin by taping the paper in place and then using the needle-sharp point of a Victorinox paring knife to prick the design onto the pumpkin. Remove the paper and voila! You are left with a constellation of dots that map out exactly where you need to cut.  
Step 6: Carving Crunch Time
Adults only section)
This is the big moment, the one you’ve been waiting for: carving time! We recommend using a paring knife and cutting straight up and down versus on an angle. For more intricate areas, it’s often easier to make larger, rough cuts and then go back in to add a detailed edge afterwards. Go slow and remember: you can always cut more, but you can't add more back if you cut off too much by accident!
Step 7: Light it Up!

It’s time to shine—and show off your jack-o’-lantern! Traditionally, jack-o’-lanterns have been lit with candles, but we recommend using an LED tea light instead.Not only is it safer, but you also won’t have to worry about the flame getting blown out by the wind or dying before the end of the night.

Congratulations on a job well done, and Happy Halloween!
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