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How to Carve a Pumpkin for Halloween

5 minutes read Oct 20,2021
How to Carve a Pumpkin for Halloween

Spooky season has arrived and it's time to prepare the pumpkins. Jack-o-lanterns may seem like an intimidating craft, but they're not as hard as you might think. Try these pumpkin carving tips as you create your Halloween decorations for the campsite or home!

6 Pumpkin Carving Tips for Campers

1. Pick the Right Pumpkin

Start with the basics by picking the right pumpkin for your design. Taller pumpkins are better for carving, while wider pumpkins work well for painting. In either case, choose one that is firm, light in color, and has a sturdy stem.

2. Open the Bottom

Most people open a pumpkin from the top, but pumpkin carving tips from experts say that the opposite is better. Opening your pumpkin on the bottom will prevent the sides from caving in after it sits for a couple days. Plus, you won't have to worry about angling the cut to ensure that your lid "sits" on top.

Person Carving Jack O Lantern in a Pumpkin

3. Remove All the Pulp

The key to a great jack-o-lantern is to remove all the pulp and thin the walls. Scoop the stringy insides out and set them aside. Then, use a big metal spoon to scrape the interior walls until they're barely an inch thick. This will help the light shine through while ensuring that the residual pulp doesn't rot.

You don't have to completely toss the pulp, though! You can separate the seeds from the stringy bits by stirring them in cold water until they float apart. Then, check out our pumpkin seed recipes for sweet and savory ways to use these extras.

4. Sketch and Trace Your Design

Even the best-laid plans benefit from a sketch on paper. Before you begin carving, draw out your design and get it just right with the proportions.

After sketching, choose a method for tracing the design onto your pumpkin. One popular technique is to use sewing tracing paper to transfer the design to the pumpkin. You can also draw the design with a permanent marker or use a fork to poke holes in the pumpkin along the lines of your sketch.

For a few design ideas, check out these pumpkin carving templates.

Kids Carving Pumpkins

5. Don't Remove Pieces as You Carve

As you bring your design to life, exercise patience and don't pop each piece out immediately. By leaving the loose pieces in place, the pumpkin will remain stable and be easier to cut. When everything is carved, reach inside the pumpkin and gently pop each piece out.

6. Make Your Pumpkin Last Longer

You've put in the work, now don't let it go to waste! You can keep your pumpkin fresh with a couple of tricks. First, spray the inside of the pumpkin lightly with water. Then, lock in the moisture by spreading petroleum jelly on all the cut edges. With a bit of luck, your pumpkin will last for at least two weeks!

Ready to begin your Halloween crafts? With these pumpkin carving tips, you're more than ready to create a jack-o-lantern. When you finish, snap a picture and tag Sun RV Resorts when you share the photo!

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