Halloween is not just about dressing up and trick-or-treating. It’s also about bringing people together and using your imagination about how to amuse each other in the spirit of this festive day. You might think that it’s all about candy and costumes, but what about the pumpkins? They’re a big part of the holiday and a great way to be creative!
We’ve found a few tricks that can help you get your pumpkins carved just right for the season…
1) Pick the right pumpkin
Check your desired pumpkin for soft spots- If you’ve found quite a few, it’s probably on the verge of spoiling and isn’t advised for carving. Texture is also important and not because of aesthetic appeal… If your pumpkin has deep ridges, it will be much more difficult to carve, so try to pick one that’s as smooth as possible. Lastly, if you have a particular design in mind, match the pumpkin accordingly- Is it short and round? Tall and skinny? Take a look around and see what suits you best.
2) Hollow out the flesh and thin the shell
First thing’s first- This will get messy, so grab some newspaper and place it underneath your pumpkin before starting this step. If you have a spoon with a serrated edge, it’ll work wonders, but if you don’t, a tablespoon will do the trick just fine (but might take a bit longer). Start by cutting out the top of the pumpkin in a circle and scooping out the seeds and string. Then try to thin the shell as much as possible, to make carving the design less of a hassle.
3) Draw your design on paper then transfer it
While some might have the advantage of carving a design freehandedly and getting it right the first time, others might not. For the latter group, an easy way to make sure you get your design just the way you like it is by drawing it on paper, then transferring the design onto the pumpkin by using a pin to prick small holes through the paper into the pumpkin.
4) Experiment beyond the triangles
Before you begin your design (or get straight to carving), don’t be afraid to be creative- Not all pumpkins need triangles. Think about everything else that symbolizes Halloween- Bats, the moon, stars, spooky forests… Use your imagination! You could even carve a scrabble board-like feature where you outline letters that spell out references to Halloween. A tool that will help you bring the detail to life (so to speak) are linoleum block cutters. These have a “v”-shaped blade and can be found at art supply stores.
5) Light it up
If you’re scared of burning down your environment, instead of using candles you can opt for Christmas lights. They aren’t just small enough to fit in the pumpkin, they also come in a variety of colours and some even have the feature that allows them to blink! Whichever your choice, remember to be safe when burning candles and/or operating electricity.
At the end of the day, Halloween is about having fun so why limit it to just having fun at night? Enjoy the pumpkin carving a couple of days before Halloween (it might take you a few hours to get them all done anyway!).
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