MAKE IT CUTE
LANTERN LOVE: How To Carve the Perfect Pumpkin!
Creating jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween is a time-honored tradition for millions of families. Expert pumpkin carver Gene Granata and Pumpkin Masters look to inspire fellow jack-o’-lantern enthusiasts with these easy instructions and tips for safe and creative carving.
Picking Your Perfect Pumpkin
• Choose your design pattern before heading to the pumpkin patch and bring it with you to find a pumpkin that matches your pattern shape.
• Pumpkin Masters carving patterns are ideal for pumpkins that are about 12” - 15” in height, the size of a basketball.
• Look for pumpkins with a sturdy, mold-free stem. This is the sign of a healthy pumpkin.
• For children, select a light-weight, softer pumpkin. They might not last as long, but they are much easier to carve.
• Make sure the pumpkin has a flat bottom to sit upright.
Working with the Right Tools
• Specially designed pumpkin carving kits truly make carving quick and simple.
• The patented Pumpkin Masters Scraper Scoop has a flat edge that makes it easier to scrape and smooth the inside of the pumpkin.
• Pumpkin Masters’ new pounce wheel is used to seamlessly transfer patterns onto the pumpkin.
• Drills create holes that fully penetrate the pumpkin for design features, such as pupils for jack-o’-lantern’s eyes.
Preparing Your Pumpkin
• Cut an opening in the bottom of the pumpkin. Making the opening in the bottom allows you to set the pumpkin on top of the light source.
• The pumpkin wall being carved should be scraped to about one inch thick. It is easier to carve intricate designs in thinner walls.
• Use tape to attach the pattern flat against the pumpkin surface.
• Poke holes along the pattern outline using the poking tool or use tracing paper and a pen to draw the design onto the pumpkin’s surface.
• If the pattern is unclear when you remove the design, rub flour over the dots to make them more visible or use a pen to connect the dots.
• Choose a pattern to suit your carving abilities.
• Place the pumpkin on your lap for better control.
• Start from the center of the design and work outward.
• Remember to saw up and down slowly at a 90-degree angle.
• Do not immediately poke through the carved out pieces. If you leave them in the pumpkin, they will make the surface sturdier for sawing the remainder of your design.
• Do not use the saw blades to removed pieces, use your finger.
• Create a chimney at the top, backside of the pumpkin to allow smoke and heat to escape once lit.
Preserving a Carved Pumpkin
• Place plastic wrap over the carving and place in the refrigerator when not on display. This protects against dryness and mold.
• Revive a shriveled pumpkin by soaking in water for up to eight hours. Remove from water and drain for ½ hour. Gently dry.
• Carve your jack-o’-lantern one to two days before Halloween to ensure that it will look its best on your front porch.
Last, But Not Least … Gene’s Pumpkin Seeds Trick
After carving hundreds of pumpkins a year, Gene likes to turn at least a few batches of those unused pumpkin seeds into a scrumptious snack. After cleaning the seeds, combine them with some cayenne pepper, salt and melted butter and bake in the oven at 300°F for a tasty treat.