It’s six days before the spookiest day of the year—know what that means?
It’s National Pumpkin Day and a perfect time to sharpen those knives, grab some gloves, and carve out some good times and magnificent pumpkins!
Nail the pumpkin this year with these carving tips.
1. Have a plan. Draw out what you plan to do before making the first cut. A fine point permanent marker works great. Need some inspiration? Find hundreds of printable carving templates online.
2. Gather your tools. Literally anything that’s sharp can be helpful—small knives, lemon zesters, exacto knives, even handsaws. Peruse the kitchen and garage to see what you have on hand and snag anything that might work.
3. Cut the back (bottom), not the top. Removing the top stem cuts off the pumpkin’s vine and messes with its structure. Make a hole in the back of the pumpkin to remove seeds and all the goop.
4. Work up and down. Begin cutting at the center of your design and work your way out. Use an up and down motion to ensure your cut pieces pop-out clean and easy.
5. Use LED tea lights. To last longer, you want to keep your pumpkin cool. Use LED tea lights instead of candles to illuminate your masterpiece.
6. Prepare Your Pumpkin to Prevent Rot! Here are a few tips to prevent your caved pumpkin from rotting.
Applying Vaseline to the carved parts of a pumpkin prevents both dehydration and mold growth, making the pumpkins last weeks longer! Simply rub Vaseline over the carved parts of the pumpkin as well as the inside. You may want to use a glove to do this. It gets a little messy, but it works great!
Give freshly carved pumpkins a bath in bleach water.
Soak the pumpkins for 4-6 hours, occasionally pouring some of the water over the pumpkins and turning them. The water helps hydrate the pumpkins, which prevents rotting. The bleach helps kill any bacteria and get rid of any dirt which prevents molding and further helps to keep the pumpkins from rotting.
7. Keep Your Pumpkins INSIDE!!! It's still hot outside! And while it is customary to put your pumpkins on the porch...try keeping them inside until halloween or else they will melt.
Happy carving, friends—I’m off to find a template or two for my own front porch pumpkins!
Mike Z. Haque