Pumpkin carving is a fun, family activity celebrated by many this time of year. It is a relatively inexpensive activity that can be completed in an evening. You can use a pumpkin carving kit complete with patterns and tools or design your own using a fine point marker and a few everyday kitchen utensils. Make sure you and your family are practicing safe carving- keep the scary on your jack-o-lantern face, not in how you carve.
Make your pumpkin carving easier and safer:
1. Before carving, check your pumpkin to make sure it sits easily. If not, wrap a towel base around the pumpkin so it no longer slides around.
2. Cut the top out, to give you a better grip when carving the face.
3. Scoop the seeds out with a pasta server (the dipper spoon with fingers) or the scraper-scoop in pumpkin carving kit. Set aside to make roasted pumpkin seeds.
4. Make carving marks before plunging in. Design your own with a fine point marker or use a pattern from a pumpkin carving kit. For best results draw a design with a marker on the pumpkin or fasten a pattern to the pumpkin using strong tape. Then using a sharp knife or carving tool, follow the design and make small, puncture marks directly on the design lines- no more than a 1/4 inch through the pumpkin flesh. Make the puncture marks close together so you can easily follow the marks to carve out your design. If using a pattern, remove the paper once all the lines have been stabbed through the paper.
5. Carve away from your body. Follow the puncture marks with a sharp knife or carving kit tool- slicing all the way through the pumpkin. The punctures make it easier to keep the knife steady and follow the lines of your design. Once you have carved the design through the pumpkin flesh, poke the designs out from the inside of the pumpkin.
6. Light it up and enjoy your creation! If candles aren't your thing you can get small, battery operated tea lights that offer the look of a burning candle with out the open flame.