How to Carve a Halloween Pumpkin

Article by: Allrecipes  |  Picture by: Andrew Wood
How to Carve a Halloween Pumpkin
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Halloween is not traditionally celebrated here in the way it is in the US and other places in the Northern Hemisphere. However, one thing that's easy and fun to do at Halloween is to carve a pumpkin.
Here's some tips for carving a Jack O' Lantern pumpkin for Halloween.

The most common round pumpkins – the Qld Blue/Grey, the Kent and the Jap – are not the best for carving because of their tough skin and flesh. Some supermarkets and fruit markets are selling the Jack O' Lantern pumpkins - that are very orange, very round and not as hard. This means they are great for carving but not so good for eating. In the end it will come down to how much you want to pay for your Halloween pumpkin – the eating ones will be the cheapest.
Which pumpkin?
A medium sized pumpkin is easier to carve. Check the pumpkin has no soft spots and has one good smooth and unblemished side for carving. It also needs to be big enough to have a tea light candle burn within it.
Even out the pumpkin at the bottom, if you need, to help it balance better. Then cut out a lid around the top. You can do this with a strong sharp kitchen knife or a hacksaw blade. Angle the cut inwards so the "lid" won't fall into the pumpkin when you replace it after it is cut.
Aim for round but not perfectly round; if the lid is slightly out of shape it will sit back on better. The hole needs to be big enough for you to be able to easily scoop out flesh and seeds.
Scoop out the seeds and any flesh you can with a metal spoon or ice cream scoop. The less flesh you have to deal with the easier the carving.
Keep the seeds and pumpkin you remove
Save the seeds for roasting and if your pumpkin is an eating pumpkin you can whip up some pumpkin scones or pumpkin soup with it.
Draw your design on the pumpkin – first in water-based markers or crayon, then in permanent markers when you've got it finalised. The classic design is triangular eyes and nose with a jagged mouth. But the internet is full of lots of images of carved pumpkin designs if you want more.
Carve out the pumpkin, using a short, strong and sharp knife - a Stanley knife is ideal. Don't push too hard on the pumpkin with your other hand while you are carving or you could collapse it.
Check it with the candle
When you've finished your design, light a candle and put the lid back on the pumpkin. If the light goes out, you need to make some wider cuts in pumpkin to allow for better air flow.
Finally, rub the outside of the pumpkin with Vaseline on a paper towel. It will give it a nice sheen and help preserve it a little longer.
Do not carve your pumpkin too early
Your carved pumpkin will only look its best for about four days so don't be tempted to start too early.
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