DvortygirlWe have roughly six weeks to get out those carving knives and prepare our cutest or creepiest jack-o-lantern ever before the trick-or- treaters hit the streets. Carving pumkins for Halloween is always a fun activity to do, and Jack-o-lanterns have been a Halloween tradition since it began at the Festival of Samhain. The ancient Celtic people used large turnips and gourds since pumpkins were unheard of in their native country. After carving their design, the Celts illuminated their jack-o-lanterns with hot coals and placed them in their window to ward off evil spirits. As for the United States, pumpkins are indigenous to the western hemisphere. Considering that they were plentiful, and much easier to work with, they were utilized here for jack-o-lanterns in the late 1800's.

To reach your desired result when carving pumkins for Halloween, first, you must have the proper carving tools. Depending on the design that you like, this will dictate the size and shape of the tool you use. For carving the traditional pumpkin designs, a large spoon or ice cream scoop and a long thin knife will suffice. For carving more intricate pumpkins, a larger number of carving tools are necessary. You will want to have a long, thin boning knife to cut out larger pieces and to make the cap of top hole of your pumpkin. A paring knife is good for detailed cuts. An X-Acto knife is wonderful for very detailed work. These can be found at craft store and are usually used for cutting out stencils. An ice pick is great for making holes. If you are transferring a stencil pattern onto your pumpkin, then a small nail is great for tracing the pattern into the pumpkin. You use this by tapping holes in the outline of the pattern through the pumpkin with a serrated effect. For carving some extreme pumpkin effects, you can use power tools. There is a whole website dedicated to this type of carving pumpkins for Halloween with some pretty interesting outcomes.

Now that you have your tools, you are almost ready to begin carving pumpkins for Halloween. Pick up some newspaper to place your pumpkin on while you are working. Depending on your pattern, you may also need some spray paint and dry erase markers. The most important think to remember is your candles. Now it is time to decide what you want your pumpkin to look like. There are all kinds of patterns and ideas readily available on the internet. I personally like the designs that include flames for eyes and the mouth. This is one of the more intricate of designs, but it always looks pretty cool in the end. You can also purchase various patterns on the net. Get more than one pumpkin and experiment. This is also a fun activity to do with your children or your adult friends, so make a party out carving pumpkins for Halloween and get the whole family involved.

First you will want to carve out the top of the pumpkin with the boning knife after you have thoroughly cleaned it. Scoop out about 2/3rds of the inside of the pumpkin with an ice cream scoop or a large spoon and you are ready to begin. Save seed for roasting after you are done. The pulp can be reserved for a pumpkin pie for later. Freehand or transfer the pattern of your choice with a small nail, and get out your knives. You can use the large boning knife to get rid of larger pieces, but use the paring knife for detailed cuts. Ice picks are great for the pupils of eyes and basically anywhere that you need a circular hole. Once you are done carving your pumpkin for Halloween, you can spray any cut edges with some Pumpkin Fresh to keep it from going bad. Some people swear by Clorox Clean-Up with Bleach. Just spray it on the inside of the pumpkin, as well as any cut marks and it should stay fresh. Place your candle inside and you are on your way to having a delightful jack-o-lantern to creep out your trick-or-treaters.