Every October for many families brings the tradition of picking out and carving pumpkins. Depending on how many you are carving, between the prep work and finish, an entire evening can be dedicated to just this fun project. Plan ahead for dinner and add some fun music in the background. For dinner, our Maple Glazed Pork Roast or Beef Pasta Bolognese both cook great in your crock pot leaving you more time to prep your pumpkins and less time cooking and cleaning up after dinner.
There is an amazing amount of ideas online for decorating and some pretty impressive templates you can purchase at your local store. However, good carving starts with selecting the right pumpkin. It is best to choose one that is fresh, has a strong, sturdy stem and no bruises or soft spots. Pumpkins with a flat bottom are ideal to prevent them from rolling away. Here are a few additional tips…
- Where to carve the hole? The most common way, is too cut around the stem at a slant/angle on the top of your pumpkin. Cutting on a slant prevents the lid from falling through.
- Another great way is to cut the hole in the bottom of your pumpkin. This makes it easier to light and helps with stability. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the top lining back up or falling through.
- Scoop and scrape out the flesh, pulp, and seeds with a plaster scraper. These can be purchased at your local store. They are the most effective at getting the inside of your pumpkin cleaned fast.
- Mold and dehydration are the two main contributors to pumpkin rot. Prevent both by covering the carved areas and interior of pumpkin with petroleum jelly or Vaseline. This will keep the pumpkin from drying out and will slow the growth of mold.
- A carved pumpkin only last a few days, wait to carve your pumpkins for decoration until just before the festivities.
- If you have small children, consider painting your pumpkin or decorating it with stickers or plastic Mr. Potato Head pieces.
- Want to make your pumpkin sound spooky? Place a baby monitor receiver inside the pumpkin and the monitor itself next to spooky sounds music or have your kids make noises when trick or treater’s arrive.
- Strobe lights, battery operated tap lights and “faux” votive candles are great options if you want to avoid live flame in your pumpkin. Also, wrapping white holiday lights around a jar and placing inside your pumpkin can be a great way to light it up if your pumpkin is near an outlet.
- If you are using a candle, make sure to cut a chimney. The easiest way is to light a candle inside the pumpkin, then close the lid. Quickly put out the flame and look for the blackened spot inside the lid. Cut a small hole there; it will let the smoke and heat escape while a candle glows inside.