Tips and Tricks on Carving Jack-o-Lanterns
I remember the most fun at Halloween time was picking up pumpkins for both my boys and me to carve. What faces could we make? What creepy patterns would be prefect to highlight? My “boys” are grown now, both in their twenties, so those special family pumpkin carving days are over, although I still love to carve unique pumpkins every Halloween myself.
Today it is very easy to find unique and wonderfully creative patterns designed specifically for pumpkin carving. It just takes a simple search to turn up dozens of web sites with downloadable patterns in truly unique designs. However, before you begin carving your creations this Halloween, you should keep some of the following tips in mind to be sure your efforts come out perfect and that your pumpkin doesn’t rot and shrivel before the big night.
Clean out your pumpkin well – After you have removed the seeds scrape out the inside of your pumpkin until you only have about 1/4″ of rind left along the edges. This will actually help make your carving easier and more precise… especially if you plan on cutting out an intricate design with many thin areas. Another reason to keep your jack o’ lantern walls thin is because it will help your pumpkin to last longer.
Keep your pumpkins cool – Store your pumpkins (before and after carving) in a cool area, such as in a cellar. Hot or warm temperatures will quickly begin to rot your pumpkin. Don’t leave it out in the sun during the day either, even it if is cool outside.
Moisturize all cut edges – Using petroleum jelly, rub all area that have been cut including along the top hole. This will help keep the pumpkin from drying out and shriveling up. However, don’t coat the inside of the pumpkin, especially if you plan on using a lit candle for lighting.
Cut a V-notch or small air hole in the pumpkin lid – This will allow heat and smoke to vent out of the pumpkin if you light the jack o’ lantern with a candle. Pumpkins that aren’t vented begin to “cook” from the heat of the candle causing it to deteriorate faster.
These simple tips should help ease the cutting process and keep your jack-o-lantern looking spiffy for several days during the Halloween holiday season. So have fun, search out some patterns or dream up your own creative designs this year!
Rose Smith own HalloweenHowl.com, a website filled with party ideas, costumes, decorating suggestions, games, graphics, Halloween crafts and more. It’s Halloween fun for all ages! Come visit us at: http://www.halloweenhowl.com/halloween-crafts.shtml.