When Halloween rolls around, a lot of people like to carve a jack-o-lantern. This is a tradition tha has been done by many people for decades! You can pick out a design, carve it into your jack-o-lantern, light it up, and show it off! With being able to make it scary, silly, or kid-friendly, the possibilities of this fun activity are endless!
If you do not know how to carve a pumpkin, then that is okay. I am going to go through the materials, tips, and steps on how to carve your own jack-o-lantern.
First of all, you will want to pick out the design you want. You can search through books, websites, or your own mind to decide what you want to carve into your jack-o-lantern. If you have children, you can even let them pick out the design for this project. If this is your first time carving a jack-o-lantern, then you may want to pick a design that is easy for you to do.
Once that you have picked out your design, you should pick out the pumpkin you want to carve it onto. The size of the pumpkin will depend on what design you have picked out and whether or not you’re using stencil to draw and carve it out.
Of course, you want a pumpkin that is not too. So this way you can carve it without any problems. But how do you know if you picked the right pumpkin? The following tips can help you:
– Make sure the pumpkin does not have any bruises or soft spots.
– Smell the pumpkin. You don’t want one that smells too strong, otherwise, it may be too ripe.
– Gently beat on the pumpkin to make sure it is not hallow. If it’s hallow, then it’s not the right kind of pumpkin.
– Make sure the pumpkin is the correct orange color. It’s usually easy to tell, as most people know what color a pumpkin should be.
– Make sure the stem is nice and sturdy (but do not lift the pumpkin by the stem.).
So you have your design in mind and you picked out your pumpkin. It is time to carefully take it home. Whether you are walking or driving, hold it carefully and be sure that it will not fall and break.
Once you are home, the next thing you will do is to prepare to carve the pumpkin. If you do not know how to do so, then don’t worry. Here are the steps for preparing your pumpkin.
1. Carefully cut out the top of the pumpkin. You have to be careful because you don’t want to damage the stem. You’re going to put the top back on when you’re all finished. Put the top aside and out of the way, where it cannot be damaged.
2. Here comes the part most people find to be disgusting. Removing and throwing away the insides of the pumpkin. Don’t worry, it’s only pumpkin pulp and seeds. Another icky part, carefully and gently scrape down on the inside of the pumpkin to remove and moist flesh that may be stuck to the sides on the inside of the pumpkin. You can use a scraper such as a putty knife to do this. But be careful. Damaging the wall of the pumpkin could ruin the whole thing.
Always remember to take your time and be careful. It’s better to be safe than to be without a jack-o-lantern to carve/
Now you’re ready to draw in your design or shape of choice. Doing so will make it easier to carve the jack-o-lantern later.
1. Wipe the outside of the pumpkin clean. If you end up wiping it down with a wet rag, make sure you let it completely dry.
2. If you are using stencil, tape it to the pumpkin (top corners first, left to right; then bottom corners, left to right). As you tape the stencil, smooth it out, it might be best to make it lie flat. Make sure to pick areas that are not part of your shape if you have to crease the stencil.
If you are not using stencil, then you can probably skip step 2. It still might be good to follow the next steps to draw in your design first. Again, this will make it easier for you to carve your shape out.
3. For this next step, it might be best to use a a pin-point punch awl or an ice pick. Gently poke holes through the stencil and into your jack-o-lantern. Carefully follow the lines of the stencil, almost as if you’re tracing or outlining it. The more complex the design, the closer the holes should be together. Otherwise, space out the dots.
If you want to draw the design with a pencil first, that can help. Just be sure to be gentle, as not to poke any holes through the pumpkin. I have personally known people to draw out the shape or design with a pencil before poking holes and / or drawing.
4. Double check to make sure the pattern or shape is exactly what you want, and keep the stencil close by, just incase you need it for any reason.
Now for the part you have been waiting for, the steps on how to carve your own jack-o-lantern!
Here are the tools you will need to use:
– #15 keyhole saw – for long cuts into your jack-o-lantern.
– An X-Acto knife with a #5 knife blade – for intricate and close-in cuts into your jack-o-lantern.
Most people use a standard kitchen knife, but this tool can be dangerous and harmful to use for carving a pumpkin.
Follow your pattern, whether it be the dots or the pencil, carefully and carve out your jack-o-lantern. Take your time and do not rush. If the steps are followed correctly and patiently, then when you are finished, it should look exactly as you want it!
There you go. You have just learned how to carve your own jack-o-lantern! This is a great Halloween and Fall activity for the home, parties, and just for fun!
Always remember to wash your hands, discard anything that should be thrown away, and carefully wash and put away all materials once you are finished!
Have fun carving your jack-o-lantern and have a great Halloween this year!