Carving Up October: How to Make the Perfect Jack-o-Lantern

Most people have carved a pumpkin before; you cut a hole in the top, scoop out the guts, and carve a funny face. But, how can you make sure that your pumpkin is the best on the block this Halloween?

It all starts when you visit the pumpkin patch. I recommend Butler’s Orchard or Homestead Farms as they grow all their pumpkins on site. When picking out a pumpkin, make sure to look for one clear of mold, holes and other blemishes. Try to find a pumpkin with a flat base so that it won’t be rolling around when you try to carve it. It’s also important to find a pumpkin with a sturdy stem, a sign that the pumpkin is healthy.

Once you have the perfect pumpkin, it’s time to hollow it out. Start by using a big knife to carve a cone shaped hole at the top of your pumpkin. You have to make sure you’re cutting in at an angle so that the top won’t fall into the pumpkin when you put it back on. After you cut your hole, it’s time to scoop out all the seeds and guts and scrape the sides to keep your pumpkin looking nice and clean.

Now it’s time to carve your design. Instead of the usual funky face, why not try out a more detailed design this October? Click on the links to see some creative Jack-O-Lantern designs. Once you pick out your favorite design, print it out and tape it to your pumpkin.  Now it’s time to use a skewer to poke holes through the paper and pumpkin to outline your design.

Now it’s time to remove the paper and start carving. Using your pumpkin knife, trace your design with slow patient movements. Don’t rush, or you could damage the pumpkin or mess up your design.

Once you’re finished carving, it’s time to make sure your pumpkin stays looking its best. Take a large bucket and fill it with a solution of bleach and water. You should use a teaspoon of bleach, for every gallon of water. Now put your pumpkin in the bucket and let it sit for a couple of hours. This will keep mold and insects away from your masterpiece. After your pumpkin is finished soaking, dry it and rub some petroleum jelly on all of the cut edges to prevent the pumpkin from shriveling.

Now it’s time to light your Jack-O-Lantern! You can pick up some Jack-O-Lantern lights that look and flicker just like real candles. This means that you don’t have to worry about your pumpkin bursting into flames, while keeping with the traditional Halloween look.

When you are all finished, place your pumpkin on your front porch, or place it on the windowsill. Make sure that everyone can see your beautiful pumpkin!