Halloween is a time for all the creative folk out there to show off their pumpkin carving skills, if however you’re like me and can only muster up two squares for eyes and a rectangle for the mouth, follow giveasyoulive.com‘s guide that’ll have you creating masterpieces even Picasso would be envious of!
1. Choosing your pumpkin
When you brave the blustery weather down to your local pumpkin supplier, you need to have the same mindset as to when you buy fruit & vegetables, the fresher the better! Firstly check the stem, if it’s visibly green and intact, you know you’ve got a good egg. Brown, dry or brittle stems show signs of age, and you want to avoid these. Next you want to check the skin is free from blemishes, bruises, or any other visible damage.
2. Set up your work station
Pumpkin carving can be very messy indeed, so it definitely helps to be organised. Make sure you put plenty of newspaper down, slimy pumpkin guts have a habit of getting on everything. Next get a few bowls from the kitchen of various sizes, these come in handy for storing the pumpkin guts, seeds and cut-outs. Then it’s best to get a few different sized knives, a small chef’s knife is good for cutting out the top, a couple of sturdy, sharp-tipped paring knives for carving out the design. Finally you need a waterproof pen for sketching out your design.
3. Off with the head
It’s time for Jack’s operation! Cut off the top of the pumpkin, making sure to cut it wide enough, anything too small and you’ll find it difficult to scrape out the insides. A good tip to make it easy to figure out the orientation of the lid later on, is to cut a triangular notch along one side. If you plan on using a candle, you may want to cut a chimney hole for smoke to escape and to allow oxygen in.
4. Scrape away!
There’s no mess-free way of doing this, just use your bare hands to remove as much of the slimy flesh and seeds as possible. Why not save the pumpkin seeds and make yourself some sweet + savoury snacks? Find some recipes here! Then take a spoon and scrape the stringy flesh from the pumpkin walls until you have an inch or two of flesh remaining. The more intricate the design, the thinner you’ll want the wall to be.
5. Plan your design
Using a waterproof pen, mark out your design on the pumpkin; remember that the design needs to be appropriate for the size of knife you have, as carving complex designs with a large knife will just prove too difficult.
6. Start Carving!
Carve by plunging the knife into your draw out lines; be careful though, you don’t want to lose any fingers! If you have a complex design, work from the centre outwards, so to not put extra pressure on sections you’ve already cut.
Congratulations, you are now a pro pumpkin carver! Find a prominent place to show off your masterpiece. If you are using a candle for light the pumpkin, make sure to keep it away from anything flammable, and don’t forget to blow it out before you got to bed.
Buy a pumpkin carving kit through Give as you Live and raise money for your favourite charity, happy Halloween!