As a Good Cook Kitchen Expert I received Good Cook products to facilitate these pumpkin carving tips. No other compensation was received All opinions are my own.
Halloween is fast approaching! And that means it’s pumpkin carving time! This is something the kids and I look forward to all year long! We adore spending the afternoon carving pumpkins. Picking out different pumpkin carving patterns and seeing the spooky, cute or even funny designs afterwards!
We’ve learned a few pumpkin carving tips along the way that have made pumpkin carving a lot easier. And allows the designs to turn out a lot better than the old designs from when I was a kid. You know the kind with two mismatched triangles for eyes and one gaping hole for the mouth, with the lid falling in all the time. Yeah, that was my beginning attempts at pumpkin carving when I was a kid. I’ve learned a few things since then.
Pumpkin Carving tips
Picking your pumpkin. A good carved pumpkin starts with a good pumpkin surface! You want a large pumpkin with a clear surface that is free from bumps, bruising, dents, or moldy stems as they will spoil much faster. Lighter colored pumpkins are also easier to carve.
Carving the opening. When you are carving the top opening, be sure to place your knife/tool at a 45 degree angle (so that the outside edge is larger than the inside). This will allow the lid will have a place to rest when you replace it. If you cut straight down, the lid will fall through.
Cleaning. Scrape out the “insides”. Make sure to save the seeds! They make the most amazing roasted pumpkin seeds snack! I horde these and rarely share because they are so good. And this is the only time of the year I can get them!
Scraping the wall. This is where you, the parent, really needs to be in charge. It needs a bit of a stronger hand. You want a smooth wall in case you are adding a light source. This allows the light to reflect and show better. You also want to scrape the walls thinner as this will make the carving easier. Make the wall that you will be carving approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick (stop before you compromise the strength of the walls) . Also make sure you have a flat smooth surface in the bottom for the light source to sit.
Picking your tools. Unless you are planning on being a professional pumpkin carver or entering into a serious competition, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on pumpkin carving tools. If you are doing very basic, a typical kitchen knife and ice cream scoop will suffice. If you want to do something a little more fancy, then the Sweet Creations Pumpkin Carving Kit is perfect. It gives you a variety of tools that help with the petite details of your design. And it only retails for $6.99. Plus it comes with 10 patterns, 2 saws, 1 scraper, 1 drill and 1 punch wheel.
I have adored this set because of how well it performs. I’ve tried those “other brands” of inexpensive pumpkin carving tools. Only to have the saw break after just a few strokes. That was rather frustrating. These have a guarantee that you will be satisfied. The saws went through the pumpkin smoothly. It was a lot smoother to carve the pumpkin. And the blades remain just as strong and sharp at the end of our pumpkin carving day as when we started. We’ll be getting more pumpkins to carve up closer to Halloween, so I’m glad I can use this pumpkin carving set again.
Selecting the pattern. You can hand draw on a design if you would like. Or you can use a pattern. I like using the pattern as I am not a very good artist. Simply transfer the pattern onto the pumpkin and follow the directions on the Sweet Creations by Good Cook pumpkin carving kit.
You tape on your pattern then trace the pattern with the punch wheel. You can use the pick for the smaller details.
Then using the saw you cut out each section of the pattern in the order that it is numbered on the pattern.
Then clean up any excess pumpkin strings. Make sure each hole is big enough for the light. And then add your light source.
Lighting: If you will be lighting your jack-o’-lantern with a candle, be sure to leave the lid off to avoid any fire hazard. Use a votive candle in a glass holder or tea lights in a metal case. If you want to leave the lid on, carve a hole in the unseen back side of the pumpkin to act as a chimney. Never leave a candle-lit jack-o’-lantern unattended for any length of time.
We like to use simple battery powered tea lights from the dollar store. They are inexpensive and then we can also leave our jack-o’-lantern on our doorstep lit up on Halloween night for the trick or treaters. Even when we are gone trick or treating ourselves and not home to keep an eye on them.
Looking for a specific pattern? Check out pumpkin carving patterns on Pinterest! They have so many amazing patterns, I’m sure you will be able to find one to suit your fancy!
Get a 25% off coupon to goodcook.com for any Sweet Creations Halloween products. Use CODE: PUMPKIN25
Want to win this fun Pumpkin carving kit? Come enter our Sweet Creations from Good Cook Pumpkin Carving Kit Giveaway from 10/18/2013- 10/31/2013. The giveaway will be open to USA only! And a quick hint; the first entry is to comment on this post, so be sure to leave a comment before heading over there so you don’t have to return. (Saying, “thanks for the giveaway” is not a valid comment entry for the giveaway).
What are your top pumpkin carving tips?