The month of October is upon us, which for many means last minute shopping for costumes, sweets for trick or treaters and of course pumpkins to carve.
When it comes to pumpkin carving we thought we would gather together some tips to make sure your artistic endeavours go smoothly and you do not waste your time (or money).
- Choose the right pumpkin
There’s nothing worse than a wobbly pumpkin, so it’s best to choose one that has a flat bottom so it won’t roll.
Try to pick one that looks fresh and has a long, sturdy stem so it’s easier to take the lid on and off once you’ve carved it. You’d better get down to the shop quickly, before all the good ones are taken!
Top tip: If you did end up buying a wobbly pumpkin, straighten it up by carving a flat slice off the bottom.
- Use the right tools
Pumpkin carving tools are available from lots of stores these days. If you do use a knife, use one with a serrated edge as it acts like a saw and makes your carving easier to control.
- Cut out the lid at an angle
This is an important step. If you cut straight down, the lid is more likely to fall into the lantern. Cut on an angle so the lid slots into place perfectly.
- Scoop it out
Remove the seeds and flesh from your vegetable. Ice cream scoops do the job the best, with minimal mess and stickiness (but where’s the fun in that?)
Don’t waste the seeds, why not toast them and have them as a snack? Boil them in salted water for 10 minutes, then toast them in the oven with a bit of olive oil until they’re brown.
- Draw your design or use a template
Use a marker pen to draw out your design before you start cutting. Or better yet, print off a template and tape it to the pumpkin so you know exactly where to cut. You can produce more detailed designs with the use of templates.
- Cut out your design
It’s best to use a pumpkin carving tool for this, as the serrated edge makes it easier to control what you’re doing and they’re small enough to carve out intricate details.
Cut straight and not at an angle, so you achieve a clean finish.
If you do go wrong and cut off a bit you weren’t supposed to, don’t worry. Just pop it on a cocktail stick and reattach it.
- Light up your lantern
For the traditional flickering pumpkin look, tealights work best. You can create a ‘chimney’ in the top of your lantern by carving a small hole in the lid, which reduces burning.
Make sure nothing is dangling above your tealight to cause a fire hazard.