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Knowing Halloween pumpkin carving basics will make it quicker, more fun to do and give you a nicer Jack-o-lantern to display.
There are some amazing artist out there that can do really incredible things to pumpkins but you just might want to know how to get a decent looking Jack-o-lantern that you can put on the front porch for Halloween.
While carving pumpkins is a simple thing there are a few tricks that will give you a nicer looking Jack in the end.
You are going to want to pick a pumpkin that is firm and has no soft spots to it. Don't worry if the pumpkin is not perfectly round on all sides.
Pumpkins usually have on flat side and you can use this to your advantage and carve the face on this flat side.
Before you start designing the face of your pumpkin decide where you are going to put it. If you pumpkin is going to be on the ground looking up then the face should be more to the top of the pumpkin. If it is going to be viewed straight on, then the face would be in the center.
Using a green marker draw the face onto the pumpkin. If you use green then it will blend into the color of the pumpkin if you make a mistake.
You can get your inspiration for your pumpkin on-line with the many pictures that are shown on different websites or you can just let your imagination lead you.I always draw the face on the pumpkin first before I cut out the top lid. This way I know that I will not be cutting into the face.
Depending on the variety of pumpkin you have carving it might be like cutting butter or like hacking away at a piece of tough leather. Some varieties of pumpkins have very tough skins.
Start with a small paring knife and push it into the top of the pumpkin on a 45 degree angle so when you take the lid on and off it won't fall into the pumpkin itself.
If the pumpkin is too hard to cut with a paring knife then switch to a serrated knife and saw through the thick skin slowly and carefully.
If you are going to light your pumpkins with candles then you are going to have to cut in a small notch in the top so air can circulate through the pumpkin.
If you don't have this small notch then your candle can go out from lack of oxygen.
While I have always preferred to use candles in some instances they are not appropriate or safe and then you could put an LED candle inside or a string of white Christmas lights.
You would have to carve a hole at the bottom of the pumpkin to thread the lights through and place them in a glass jar to keep them clean inside the pumpkin.
Taking the lid off the pumpkin reach in and start pulling out the seeds and fibers. You might want to put on a pair of washing up gloves when you do this.
Taking a large soup spoon or metal serving spoon start scraping out the inside of the pumpkin. Some pumpkins are more fibrous than others so be careful that you don't scrape too deep and make the walls of the pumpkin too thin.
Cutting the features in your pumpkin you should again use a paring knife or if the skin is very thick a serrated knife. Follow the lines that you had drawn on the pumpkin and don't be too worried about making it exact. It's better to take small sections out one at time than in one go.
If you want your pumpkin to look fresh for more than a few days then when it is all carved place it in a tub of cool water where you have added about a teaspoon of bleach for every gallon and let your pumpkin sit for about 2 hours.
Remove your pumpkin, let it dry and then rub petroleum jelly on all the cut surfaces.
This is a great trick to know if you are using the pumpkins for centerpieces or large displays and need to have them ready a few days before Halloween.
If you are displaying your Jack-o-lantern with a candle inside remember to never leave a candle unattended.
Halloween pumpkin carving basics show you the few quick little tricks and secrets to make carving a pumpkin simple