Whether you’re carving a jack-o’-lantern for Halloween or decorating a gourd for the fall season, there’s plenty of room for creativity, but there are also some helpful do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. Consider these expert tips when preparing to carve your next pumpkin.
Perfect isn’t Necessary
When you’re looking for the right pumpkin to bring home, whether you’re in a pumpkin patch or a market, you’re bound to see a few less-than-perfect gourds. That’s fine. Although deep gashes and mold are rightfully deal breakers, it’s more than acceptable for a pumpkin to sport a few odd blemishes or knots. A unique shape can even add quirky character to your jack-o’-lantern. You don’t have to spring for the finest tools in the hardware store, either. Decent pumpkin carving kits start at affordable prices, and many households carve pumpkins with the kitchen materials they have on hand. A melon baller is great for cutting out the pulp and interior walls, while a lemon zester can be used to create distinctive textures that don’t go all the way through.
While we’ve all seen jack-o’-lanterns with a hole cut out of the top, experts attest that it’s more practical to cut out the bottom of the pumpkin to get inside. Removing the bottom will make clearing out the pulp easier, as a lot of it will come out attached to the bottom. Of course, you can still cut off the top around the stem for putting in a candle. Although some carvers stop clearing out the inside once they’ve removed the pulp and seeds, it helps to keep scooping away at the walls until they’re only an inch thick. This will make carving your design easier. When the time comes to make your imagined design come to life, clean the surface of the pumpkin and trace it out. Then, be sure to take your time.
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