How to Carve a Pumpkin By Malorie Crocker

Cold weather comes around at the end of September and the first thing many people have the urge to do is go out and buy new clothes and decorations. October comes and people start wanting to participate in fall activities such as hayrides, bonfires, haunted houses, and pumpkin carving.

Carving a pumpkin can be challenging but yet a delightful activity to do with a significant other or one’s family. Most people are not born knowing how to carve a pumpkin, so it is both trial and error or they watch someone perform the activity and learn that way.

When choosing a pumpkin to carve, choose one that is medium-sized or larger, then look at the stem. The thicker the stem, the healthier the pumpkin is. Another way to choose a good healthy pumpkin is to look at the color of it. The more constant the orange is, the healthier the pumpkin is. If there is green on the outside layer, it does not mean it is rotten, it means that the pumpkin grew on the ground or it is a bad generation.

The next step is making sure you have all the tools needed to carve the pumpkin. Most of the tools one needs are usually ones found around the house. There is a pumpkin kit at Walmart, but the tools are flimsy and break easily. The tools needed are: sturdy paring knife, scraper or a metal spoon, smaller knife, and a small tip marker. Use a washable ink pen instead of a Sharpe marker so that the image drawn stays on the pumpkin as long as needed.

Take the paring knife and cut about two inches away from the stem in a circular motion. By doing this, the stem will be cut out, so the pumpkin insides can be taken out. Once finished making the circle, take the stem and set it aside. Do not throw it away. The stem will be needed for the finished product. Now, the metal spoon or the scraper will be used to get all the “guts” out of the pumpkin. A person can either throw everything they scrap out away, or save the seeds and bake them in the oven. Pumpkin seeds are considered tasty to some people.

After the “guts” are removed, the next step is to get on the Internet and find an outline of what one wishes to have their pumpkin look like. Once the outline is found, print it off and trace the image on the pumpkin. If a person is not very artistic, he/she can hold the image against the pumpkin and take their knife and create indentions as to where they need to cut.

After applying the image to the pumpkin, take the smaller sculpting knife and start carving away. For small defined areas, use an X-Acto knife since it has a sharp pointed blade for little areas. Once a person has finished their image, put a candle in it, to light itself up at night.

There’s myths on ways a person can preserve a pumpkin, but in all reality a person cannot preserve a pumpkin for eternity. A pumpkin is a fruit that has the destiny of composing. In fact, there are ways to help extend the life of the pumpkin. One way is, a person can mist the cut surfaces with lemon juice to fight oxidation and mold. Another step is a person could apply vegetable oil on the cut surfaces to seal in the moisture. The last way a person can try is, if their pumpkin is shriveling up after a few days and they want it to last longer, they can put the pumpkin in an ice bath for a few hours, then dry it off and coat it once or with vegetable oil.

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