Lee Valley Tools Gardening Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 5
October 2007
 
A Pumpkin-Carving Primer
 

Jack-o'-lantern
A surface-carved jack-o'-lantern.
 



Nothing embodies the spirit of Halloween better than a brightly glowing jack-o'-lantern. Whether you opt to carve an elaborate design, or a simple — yet equally charming — pattern, here are some tricks on how to do it easily and safely.

Tools
You can use woodcarving tools if you have them, but it's not absolutely necessary. You should be able to achieve almost any shape and texture with tools found in your kitchen.


While many people are adept at using their own kitchen utensils, you may consider wearing inexpensive slash-resistant gloves while carving, especially if you have a young assistant. Once the carving begins, the pumpkin surface can become quite slippery, which increases your risk of injury. You may also choose to give young carvers saw-toothed plastic knives instead; these should slice through the pumpkin with ease.

Some craft and department stores carry pumpkin-carving kits in a range of prices at this time of the year. With their short blades, craft knives work well and are more easily controlled than a kitchen knife.

A dry-erase marker is perfect for tracing your design onto the pumpkin's surface. You can simply wipe off any traces of ink after completion. However, it may be necessary to retrace parts of the design that are inadvertently removed during carving. If you are a confident sketcher, or are simply tracing a pattern, use a fine-line permanent marker instead.

 
 

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