If you are anything like me, you get super excited about pumpkin carving every single year and then you mess it up and you’re always wondering what you did wrong and how you can ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Lets face it, everyone KIND OF knows the pumpkin carving steps, but I think there’s an actual fool proof system out there that we’ve been neglecting to give attention because we just think we already know how to carve our pumpkins.
Every year it’s the same thing with me… I don’t carve the walls thin enough and therefore I can’t carve through… OR I carve the walls too thin and my pumpkin wall just collapses… then, I use a stencil that doesn’t want to stay on and it gets wet and soggy and rips off and I’m left with a “design” that looks nothing like it’s supposed to. At that point, I’ve given up and I’m left with a huge mess of pumpkin seeds and wet pulp to clean up.
I’m simply trying to break the cycle of this awful pumpkin carving experience for myself, and all of my readers. There HAS to be a more successful, enjoyable and cleaner way to get our pumpkins carved and placed out on the porch glowing brightly in the night!
Now, carving kits are wonderful inventions for pumpkin carving because they usually include a few different tools to help you and they usually also include a variety of different Halloween stencils to choose from. They’re basically an inexpensive and convenient way to pumpkin carve. I personally think they are a great idea for kids as most of the tools aren’t as sharp as knives or saws or other tools you might use for pumpkin carving, therefore I highly recommend you pick one up here to help guide you through the pumpkin carving process even if you do decide to use some more intense tools.
So, first things first!
1. Bring Mr. or Mrs. Pumpkin home and lay out your tools. Whether it’s your carving kit, or other tools, you’ll want to have them ready for the job. You can actually use a number of different tools to create an incredible pumpkin carving. Some of these tools you may not have at home or may not have even heard of them, stick with a few you have at home or pick a couple up at your local shop! Here’s a list of some super helpful carving tools:
2. Pick out your pumpkin! This step can easily be one of the best steps… skip your local super market and go pumpkin picking with your family or significant other! Places that have pumpkin picking are usally farms that also have hay rides, corn mazes, games, hot chocolate and other fun things to do while you choose your favorite pumpkin. I also recommend getting a back-up pumpkin, just in case something goes wrong with your first one.
- miniature or keyhole saws
- power drill
- needle tool or pin
- cookie cutters
- scraping tool
You also want to make sure you have stencils and tape if you’re going to do a design on your pumpkin. If you have a carving kit, most will include a variety of different stencils to choose from. Once you have your stencil chosen and your tools ready, make sure you pick an area of your home where you can easily lay everything out. Lay a towel or trash bag down to collect pulp and pumpkin seeds so you don’t make a mess!
3. Once you have your pumpkin carving location ready and set, the first thing you want to do is carve a hole in your pumpkin. Most commonly, people will choose to carve a hole in the top where the stem is, you can do that or you can carve it in the bottom. Either option is fine because you are doing this so you can put a candle or tea light in your pumpkin to illuminate it when you are finished.
4. The next step is the messiest! Now is where you will get all the pulp and seeds out of the inside of your pumpkin so you have a nice, smooth, clean area for illumination when you put your pumpkin outside at night. Use a large spoon or scraping tool to get as much of the gunk out as you can while simultaneously thinning the inside walls of the pumpkin for easier carving.
5. The next step is designing! Your stencil will most likely be a standard size of 8.5 x 11 so cut around the design slightly to make it smaller and more manageable on your pumpkin. Then you’ll want to tape it or secure it to the pumpkin the best way that you can. Make sure you pick a nice, smooth, clear side of your pumpkin for your design! Use the needle tool or pin to poke holes to replicate the design on to your pumpkin. Make sure you poke the holes deep enough so you are able to see them once you remove the stencil.
6. After you remove the stencil paper, you should be able to clearly see your poked holes. You will carve these areas with a miniature saw or carving tool from your kit! Carve well so the pieces fall out, grab each once and toss it away. You’ll already start to see your design coming together! Once you are finished carving all the area you made with your pin, marvel at your hard work! Do any last minute touches to your design!
7. To light up your pumpkin, simply place a small candle or electric tealight inside and place your pumpkin outside in a special area where everyone can see it.
Tip: To keep it from turning brown and last longer, apply a thin exposed areas of your pumpkin with a thin layer of Vaseline!
Check out our carving kits and and other pumpkin tools like tealights, here!