The carving a pumpkin is not so simple… It all starts with the picking: Go for a smooth, clean, solid surface. Feel around for soft spots and bruises, which you want to avoid. Take into account that a skinny carving pattern won’t look quite right on a round and large pumpkin.
Soaking: The night before you carve, use a scrub to remove excess dirt and let your pumpkin sit in a bucket of water overnight or about 8 hours. Soaking helps preserve the pumpkin for longer, but you may need to flip halfway through the night because pumpkins float. You will then need to dry the pumpkin before carving.
Cleaning: If you don’t want pumpkin pulp hanging from the rafters next Halloween, grab a ream of trash bags and a few paper towel rolls.
Cutting: The first cut you’ll make will take off the stem. Use a larger knife or carving saw to cut a circle around the stem, angling the saw toward the end so the top doesn’t fall into the pumpkin but catches on the blade.
Patterning: Have a look on Pinterest to find the perfect pattern or pick up a DIY kit from your local Superstore/Craft Shop. Be sure to centre the pattern. Secure the pattern to the pumpkin with tape. Basic Scotch Tape should do the trick. Carving: Start slow, with a small knife, going over the tinier or trickier angles first. Remember that you don’t have to carve along the lines perfectly. Sometimes carving into the parts to be cut out makes it easier to reach other cut lines. Remove cut-out pieces as they fall out or in small chunks.
Lubricating: That’s right. Pumpkins dry out and can grow mould around the edges that are cut, so lubricating the cut-out parts, are ideal. Wipe off all the extra gloop on the inside and the outside, and then lubricate with a nice seal of Vaseline or other petroleum jelly. Thinner cut-outs dry out faster and might need an extra layer.
Lighting: If you don’t have a flat surface for your candle to rest on, scrape one out now. If your pumpkin’s got some lumps that doesn’t permit perfect flatness, secure a candle in place by straightening out a paper clip and sticking it through the centre of the candle into the bottom of the pumpkin. Use long matches or lighters to light the candle.