Halloween is my favorite holiday, and my favorite part of Halloween is carving a pumpkin. I like them elaborate and awesome. Last year my pumpkin carving took a total of probably 8-10 hours. This year, I had nothing even vaguely resembling that kind of free time, so I’m just going to share last year’s pumpkin:

It is seriously one of my favorite things I’ve made. I’m thinking of just posting a picture of it every year, because I love it, and was a lot of hard work.

Pumpkin Carving Tips:

1. Think 3-dimensionally. Start with your design, and select a pumpkin with a shape and surface that will work for what you are trying to do. Pumpkins come in different colors, (including white for your ghosts and skeletons and such) textures, and shapes.

2. Use creative tools. You will probably have a pretty tough time trying to create a multi-layered look, or fine detail with nothing but a big kitchen knife. The specialized pumpkin tools you buy at your local box-mart along with a set of patterns are helpful for punching through the pumpkin, because they’re small and serrated. To create any significant depth–like you see in the eyes and background above–you need some type of scraping tool. And for details you’ll want a small, very sharp knife. Ideally, go to your local craft or art supply store for sculptor’s tools, those work best for me.

3. Preserve. Sometimes you don’t have a huge chunk of time to work on a pumpkin. Or you do, but not the day of your Halloween party. To preserve an already cut pumpkin to complete or display later, take wet paper towels and fit it down in any cut areas (including the top cut-out). Really soak them, and try to make sure there’s no air between any of the cut areas and your towels. Then cover the lot with plastic wrap and store in the fridge. It will keep the pumpkin from drying out too much and add a day or two to the life of your Jack-o-lantern. Just a couple of days, though, so do not carve any sooner than you have to.

4. Display. You can always go with your typical tea light candle, but if you do, make sure to cut a notch or hole completely through the top of the pumpkin. Because the front is not cut all the way through, if you don’t take this step the candle will be suffocated and will die after just a minute or two. You can also buy tap lights, battery powered lights, or flameless fake candle lights (check the Halloween section of your favorite store) instead. If you’re using these, you don’t have to worry about the candle suffocating and/or blowing out, but I don’t think it looks quite as cool as a flickering candle.
Happy Halloween everyone!!!


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