Pumpkin Carving Tips
It’s that time of year! The grocery stores are stocked full of pumpkins, and everyone is getting ready to visit their favorite pumpkin patch! If you’re in San Diego, we highly suggest visiting Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center. They grow a lot of their pumpkins right on the farm, and they yield some of the largest pumpkins we’ve ever seen! They also have a great retail store with a CANDY COUNTER, and lots of animals you can feed! It’s a great time for the entire family, and a great place to start a tradition.
Now back to the reason you’re reading this … Carving Your Pumpkin! We’re going to share the best tips for carving a pumpkin, ideas for all ages and skill levels, how to preserve your pumpkin, and what to do with the seeds after!
First, do not cut off the top of the pumpkin! Instead, cut a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin. This helps you prevent the top from falling through the center, and also gives you a chance to level off the bottom of the pumpkin so it can sit up straight. If you are set on cutting a hole in the top of the pumpkin, make sure you are cutting at an angle. Think of it as an upside-down triangle, where the bottom of the hole is smaller than the top of the hole. This will create a catch for the top, so it doesn’t fall through the bottom.
Use an ice cream scoop to remove the seeds. This gives you a good handle so you can scrape out the sides, and also helps you pull out the seeds. Don’t be afraid to get your hands in there and pull them out either. The mess is half the fun!
A small paring knife is great for those intricate details, and helps you have more control over the design. If you want to get really creative, you can use a power drill to drill holes into the side of the pumpkin. This will give your pumpkin a freckled look, or you can skip the face and just make different size holes as a design!
Save the Seeds! Make sure you save all of the seeds for after. At the bottom of this post we will link a great pumpkin seed recipe. They make a great snack and give you that warm cozy Fall Feeling!
Light it Up!
Don’t be scared to get creative with the lighting of your pumpkin. There are many small battery powered LED light options now. You can get a color changing light, or even a small strobe light to put in your pumpkin. I don’t suggest using a real candle in your pumpkin, but you can pick up a fake candle that will flicker. Same look but less risk!
Preserve Your Pumpkin
Once you carve into a pumpkin, it doesn’t last long! Preserve the carved portion of the pumpkin by rubbing petroleum jelly on the carved areas to help hold in the moisture. You also want to be mindful of mold growing in your pumpkin. To prevent mold from growing add ½ teaspoon of bleach into a spray bottle full of water and spray your pumpkin once a day. Even with these measures taken, your pumpkin still only has a lifespan of 3-7 days. Make sure to carve your pumpkins within a week of Halloween so they still look fresh on the big night!
Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas:
Keep it simple: If you are new to pumpkin carving, keep it simple with a jack-o-lantern face and then add some flare once you get the hang of it. You can add freckles with a power drill, paint it, or add other decorative crafts to it. You can even use cookie cutters to help you shape your design.
Kids: Include your kids in the pumpkin carving process by allowing them to trace the design on the pumpkin, or have them paint it before you carve it. I also like to put big googly eyes on the backs of the pumpkins so they have a fun face on both sides!
Add some flare: I mentioned the freckles and painting before. All of these are great additions to liven up your simple pumpkin. You can also stick lollipops in the top to make hair, or turn your pumpkin into a flower pot during the day by placing flowers and a vase inside.
Pumpkin Seed Recipe
My favorite part of carving a pumpkin, is baking the seeds to have as a snack after! Crunchy pumpkin seeds is one of our favorite Fall snacks! They’re easy to make, and you can season them however you want! Here is the link to my favorite recipe!