A Spooky Thirteen Tips for Picking & Carving Pumpkins for Halloween
25th October 2013
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Be extra spooky this Halloween and impress family, friends and/or party guests with your very own carved pumpkin.

Here’s a spooky 13 tips to help you

1 Choose a big pumpkin (larger than a football).  It’s simpler to carve a larger pumpkin.  

2 Avoid any pumpkins with bruises or mouldy stems as they will degrade much quicker and your hard work will only last a short time.

3 Pumpkins with a lighter colour tend to be softer and easier to carve.

4 When cutting out the top, place the knife at a 45 degree angle so that the lid will have a place to rest when you replace it. If you cut straight down, the lid will fall through.

5 Use a large metal serving spoon to scrape the insides.  If you will be putting a lit tea light or small candle inside the carved pumpkin, the back wall should be scraped as smooth as possible, because this is where the light from the flame will be reflected.  The wall of the pumpkin should be left around 1 inch thick.

6 Add 1 teaspoon of Bleach to around a gallon of water and soak the scooped pumpkin in it for a couple of hours.  This will give your carved pumpkin a longer life.  

7 Once soaked, dry the pumpkin thoroughly, then rub inside and out, including all the cut edges, with vegetable oil to prevent it from shrivelling up.

8 Choose a simple, bold pattern to carve.  Once you master the simple patterns, you can move on to something more complicated.

9 Print out or draw the pattern on a piece of paper, the using small scissors or a craft knife, cut out the areas of the page that you’ll be carving into the pumpkin.

10 Tape the paper template onto the pumpkin and use a thick pen to trace the carving lines. Cutting slits in the paper will help it to conform to the round surface.

11 A long serrated knife or a carving knife with teeth will be necessary to cut through the thick flesh.  Use a sawing motion and take your time cutting along the outside edge of the thick pen lines so there is no ink residue.

12 If you want to leave the lid on your carved pumpkin once the candle is lit, carve a hole in the unseen back side of the pumpkin to act as a chimney.  Never leave a candle lit inside a pumpkin unattended for any length of time.

13 For a bit of spooky spicy fragrance, sprinkle the bottom side of the pumpkin lid with ground cinnamon, nutmeg and/or cloves to let your carved masterpiece do double duty as an air freshener.

Have a spooky, but happy Halloween

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