Pumpkin Carving Tips

29th October 2019

It’s that time of the year again. The leaves are falling, the nights are drawing in and there’s a chill in the air. If you haven’t already, it’s also time to scoop up some squash and get spooktacular for Halloween!

Pumpkin carving is a classic autumn activity – but before you pick up your ghoulish gourd, check out our pumpkin carving tips below.

The Perfect Pumpkin

Pumpkins come in all shapes, sizes and colours – meaning the design possibilities are endless. A narrow pumpkin with lots of wrinkled lines could make a wicked witch’s face, whilst a misshapen squash comes with all kinds of monstrous possibilities. Before you make your choice, check that it is fresh and has a sturdy stem, so it can darken your doorway for days to come.

Top it Off

It’s easy to cut straight down around the stem of your pumpkin – but if you put the top back on later, it’ll drop inside (and possibly onto a naked flame). The best way to remove the top is to cut it at an angle, so the lid is a cone shaped. Ideally, cut a simple jog-shape into it, so it’ll fit back in the same place every time. This is the toughest part of a pumpkin to cut, but a boning knife should do the trick.

Scoop the Goop

You can buy a special pumpkin-carving ‘claw’ to scoop out your pumpkin’s innards, but an ice cream scoop will work just as well. This is messy work, but the kids will enjoy it. If you scrape around the sides from top to bottom, you should stay fairly clean. Don’t throw this away – pumpkin seeds are fantastic roasted as a snack, or to decorate cakes, and you can make pumpkin puree from the innards.

Creepy Creativity

Now it’s time for the fun part! Draw on your pumpkin’s features with a marker pen or use a stencil. It’s easier to carve when the pumpkin is looking up at you. Cut straight down to get the best effect – try using a small saw or a special pumpkin carving tool. You don’t have to cut out chunks of pumpkin; you can create more intricate designs by shaving it for a two-tone effect.

Pumpkins are a great blank canvas to let your imagination run wild. Why not decorate yours with props? Use masking tape as bandages, or woodchips as teeth. If you want to keep little hands away from sharp objects, then painting your pumpkin works just as well. Get kids to paint their own design or decorate a pumpkin you’ve already carved to give it more colour and character.

Pick up all the tools you need to make a fang-tastic pumpkin, from Trevor Mottram in The Pantiles.