Posted: Oct 10, 2012 4:36 PM
Updated: Oct 10, 2012 4:38 PM
It's just about the time to start carving up pumpkins and we've got some tips on how to make the best jack-o-lanterns on the block.
CHOOSE A PUMPKIN
Look for pumpkins that are large, ripe and have smooth, even surfaces with at least a 2-inch stem. It is recommended that if you are using a candle, the pumpkin should be at least 9-10 inches tall.
CUT OUT THE TOP
Cut out the lid at an angle (so that the outside edge is larger than the inside) to keep it from slipping inside. Make sure to use a pumpkin saw, if you can, it is easier and works better than a regular knife.
SCRAPE OUT THE INSIDE
We suggest using a metal serving spoon to scoop the inside out of the pumpkin. This is a good opportunity to get the kids involved. Let them scoop out the seeds and slimy innards. Have an adult scrape out the insides. Try to get the walls as thin as possible, this makes the carving easier and the pumpkin brighter. However, don't make it too thin or it will rot quicker.
PUT THE PATTERN ON THE PUMPKIN
You can draw it on freehand or trace it with a permanent marker. Another idea is to use a poking tool that comes with most pumpkin carving kits to outline the pattern. Tape the pattern on the pumpkin and poke small holes around the outline.
The best way to get started is to begin at the center of the design and work towards the outside. Take it easy and be gentle: try not to push all the way through, just cut softly each time. If you cut something you shouldn't have: Stick a toothpick through the flesh side of the piece and fit it back into place.
If you are using a candle, you'll need to make a chimney. Light a candle, put the top back on and wait a few minutes. Take the top off, blow out the candle and look to see where there is a small black spot. Use a poking tool to make a small hole for the smoke to go out.
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