North Texas Daily

How-to: Carve a pumpkin

How-to: Carve a pumpkin

How-to: Carve a pumpkin
October 14
06:51 2013

Mariana Viana / Intern

It is time for one autumn’s best rituals – carving pumpkins to get ready for Halloween.

“I enjoy carving pumpkins,” freshman journalism major Katie Johnson said. “I think it’s a fun and creative way to decorate for fall, and it’s relatively inexpensive.”

The process is easy, but before carving the pumpkin it’s important to know how to choose one. Make sure the pumpkin doesn’t have any soft spots, and has a flat side for easy carving.

Many grocery stores and markets sell pumpkins, generally on display out front.

There are also some farms where people can find pumpkin plantations this time of the year. Visiting a pumpkin patch is fun for all ages.

If you have already chosen the design to use, don’t forget that the choice of the pumpkin must meet the dimensional requirements of the project chosen.

Pick out a good sized pumpkin. Then select your carving method; this will help you decide what tools to use. You can buy a pumpkin carving kit with designs or you can do the traditional jack o’ lantern face. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

Pick out a good sized pumpkin. Then select your carving method; this will help you decide what tools to use. You can buy a pumpkin carving kit with designs or you can do the traditional jack o’ lantern face. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

“I chose this pumpkin because it was a decent size and had a nice stem,” Johnson said.

In fact, many people choose a pumpkin to carve before even deciding on a design to use.

Gather the necessary tools to carve the pumpkin. It is essential that as well as the pumpkin, one has access to an appropriate space, newspaper, paper towels, carving knives, a large spoon (ideally metal), a crayon and a vivid imagination.

Place the pumpkin on a flat and sturdy surface like a table or on the floor on top of a newspaper. Start by cutting a circle on the top of the pumpkin around the stem.

Remove everything from inside the pumpkin, including seeds. Use a large spoon to scrape the pumpkin and empty it. Keep the seeds in a separate pot to make something tasty. It’s advised to scrape the inside of the pumpkin’s base to form a flat surface to place a candle.

“This process is messy. But, it’s fun, especially if you’re doing it with friends or family,” Johnson said.

Finally, it’s time to carve the pumpkin’s face. Use a crayon to outline the chosen design onto the pumpkin before carving it.

“I chose the most popular pumpkin carving – a goofy face and a toothless smile,” Johnson said. “Because I wanted to start out with something simple and not too complex.”

Use a thin knife to cut out the design of the pumpkin. A big knife is useful for cutting long extensions and a smaller one for the most delicate areas.

That’s it! Jack O’Lanterns can be used to light up dim porches and add a little festivity to any doorstep.

“I live in an apartment, and there’s not much really to decorate,” Johnson said. “I think having one or two cute Jack-O-Lanterns sitting outside on the balcony is a simple and fun way to get into the Halloween spirit. They’re festive and each one is unique.”

Remember—proper safety measures must still be taken into consideration when the carving process is complete. When using open flame candles, make sure someone is available to extinguish the flame when bedtime is approaching. If no one is available, electric options are always something to consider.

Step One: Cut off the pumpkin stem by cutting a small circle out from the top of the pumpkin. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

Step One: Cut off the pumpkin stem by cutting a small circle out from the top of the pumpkin. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

Step Two: Remove all the pumpkin seeds and membrane from inside the pumpkin. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

Step Two: Remove all the pumpkin seeds and membrane from inside the pumpkin. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

Steps Three and Four: Draw a design on the front of the pumpkin with a permanent marker. Begin to cut out the design with a knife. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

Steps Three and Four: Draw a design on the front of the pumpkin with a permanent marker. Begin to cut out the design with a knife. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

After the cut out the entire design is finished the  pumpkin is carved and is ready for decoration. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

After the cut out the entire design is finished the pumpkin is carved and is ready for decoration. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Intern

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