With the scent of fall in the air, visions of brightly colored leaves, and the smell of cinnamon in the air, you know it is almost time to celebrate Halloween!
Not everything about Halloween has to be ghoulish and gore and carving your pumpkin can be just the thing to spread a little holiday magic. Here are a few simple tips and tricks to creating a great carved creation this Halloween.
Pay attention to the stem
This seems like an odd little trick but the health and sturdiness of the stem can tell you a lot about your potential pumpkin pick. The longer the pumpkin has been removed from the vine the more dried out and brittle the stem will become. Also, a thick stem is usually an indication that the walls of the pumpkin will be fairly thick as well giving you plenty of options when you start the actual carving process.
Prepare your tools before you start carving
I’m sure we have all seen the pumpkin carving kits that you can buy at many big-box retailers that include a little carving blade and a scoop to remove the insides of the gourd.
These may be helpful for basic shapes and such, but this is your opportunity to really think outside the box! Pull out your power drill, kitchen tools like a zester, a wood burner, etc. Consider that all of these potential carving tools will give you a different look so depending on what you want on your pumpkin keep you mind open to possibilities.
Don’t cut off the top of the pumpkin!
This may seem a like a strange suggestions and you may be wondering how to remove the insides of the pumpkin if you don’t cut around the stem to remove the top? The stem, even after the pumpkin has been removed from the vine, still provides moisture and nutrients to the pumpkin, thus prolonging the life of the pumpkin.
If you cut around the stem you are essentially cutting off the pathway for that moisture to move down into the actual squash itself. A better idea is to create an opening in the back of the pumpkin. This also allows for easier candle placement and lighting.
Get EVERYTHING out
If you have ever had a pumpkin go moldy on you then you know it can be pretty gross and happen pretty fast. The biggest key to avoiding a moldy meltdown is to make sure that you get EVERYTHING out of the pumpkin – the strings, the seeds, the goop, EVERYTHING. This is where the mold will grow fast and then it spreads to the actual walls of the pumpkin so a little preemptive work goes a long way.
Use a pattern
Most of us are not super artistically talented so using a pattern it a great way to create a pumpkin carving masterpiece. There are lots of patterns that are free to download online.
A Final Fun tip
If you sprinkle cinnamon inside of your carved pumpkin then place a candle inside the warmth from the candle will bring out the pumpkin and cinnamon smells giving you just a little hint of pumpkin pie.