One of the most time honored Halloween traditions is the carving of the pumpkin to place on the front porch. Many families make it a part of their fall traditions to drive out to the local pumpkin patch, pick out the perfect pumpkins, and then come home to carve creepy or funny faces into all of them.
Creating your own pumpkin masterpiece is easy. You can come up with your own designs, or you can look online for different templates if you want something truly different and spooky. However, even the perfect design will flop if you don’t follow good pumpkin carving techniques. Here are some tips to help you create a work of art.
1. Find the Right Pumpkin
Of course, the perfect jack-o-lantern starts with the perfect pumpkin. Find one that is large enough and the proper shape to hold your design ideas. You will also want to examine the pumpkin for any bruising or defects that could cause it to deteriorate faster once you have taken it home.
2. Make Sure the Pumpkin is Cleaned Out
The start of any great jack-o-lantern begins with scooping out all of the seeds and mess that is inside. You should also take it a step further, however. Once the seeds have been removed, continue to scrape the inside until you have about a quarter of an inch of rind left. A thinner pumpkin is easier to carve ñ especially if you are hoping to successfully do fine detailing in your carving. Thin walls will also help your pumpkin keep longer after it is carved. They may make it more fragile, however, so use caution when moving your creation.
3. Pumpkins Like It Cool
From the time you bring your pumpkin home from the patch until it is time to throw it out you will want to keep it in a cool, dark area. If it is still warm where you live in October, store your pumpkin inside during the daytime. Always avoid sunlight during the day. If your pumpkin gets warm, it will start to rot quickly. Placing your pumpkin on the porch only in the evenings and taking it inside during the day time can help it to last longer.
4. Remember to Moisturize
Not you, the pumpkin! Rubbing petroleum jelly on the cut surfaces of the pumpkin will help keep your pumpkin from drying out as quickly, which will cause it to lose its shape. Only do the cut edges, not the inside, especially if you plan on using a candle as it is a fire hazard.
5. Allow your Pumpkin to breathe
When carving your pumpkin, place a small notch or hole in the lid. That way, when you place the candle inside, the smoke and heat have a way to escape. Otherwise, the pumpkin may start to cook, which will cause your jack-o-lantern to deteriorate more quickly.
Once you have found the perfect pumpkin to create your jack-o-lantern masterpiece, following these simple steps will help keep your creation looking spooky for several days’ worth of Halloween fun.
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