The secret to carving the perfect pumpkin, is keep it simple. A pumpkin is a vegetable, not a piece of wood. It is also essential that you are safe! You don’t want to be injured on Halloween and not able to go out trick or treating! Here are a few steps on creating the perfect jack-o'-lantern.
Create a stencil
The best part of your pumpkin is the design and planning this is crucial! Draw or print out your design and cut it out, tack these with dress pins to your pumpkin. Your design doesn’t have to be a face; you can draw a cat, spider or even your name! Get creative!
Cut off the top
Before you start to cut your design, you need to cut off the top and empty the pumpkin. Cut off the top layer or lid of your pumpkin at an angle. Make sure you have an adult helping you - it can be dangerous!
Empty its guts!
This can be the gross part, but also really fun! Get a big spoon, or a pumpkin carving spoon, and scoop out the excess flesh and seeds. This can get messy so make sure you have a big bowl or bucket, and some kitchen roll at hand. Make sure the bottom of the pumpkin is flat enough to hold a tea light too. If you want, you can keep the seeds and roast them to make a tasty snack – just dry them out by roasting at 150°C, on an oiled sheet for 30 minutes, take out and toss in salt, a little olive oil and spices and return to roast for a further 20 minutes!
Transfer your design to your pumpkin
Using the stencil or draw your design onto the pumpkin using a permanent marker pen. Make sure you are happy with the design, and then get cutting! (Be careful!)
Cutting out your design
Now you can gently cut out your design onto your pumpkin. It is easier to use a small-serrated knife - like a tiny saw. Pumpkin carving kits usually come with a small-serrated knife, which is perfect for sawing out a delicate design.
Test it out!
Once you are happy with your pumpkin, get a small tea light and carefully light it and place it gently in the centre of the pumpkin and put the lid back on. Turn off the lights and see your personal jack-o'-lantern come to life!
Preserving your jack-o'-lantern!
You won’t want your pumpkin getting mouldy ahead of the big day. So spray the jack o’lantern with a bleach solution or lemon juice inside and out to stop fungus growth.
And there you have it! Your very own, jack o’lantern with your personal design. Pop it outside to keep the ghosts and ghouls at bay!