Five Tricks to Carving the Perfect Pumpkin

Halloween is just around the corner, which means it is likely that you will soon see jack-o-lanterns popping up on doorsteps. But don’t be jealous of your neighbor. You, too, can have a perfectly carved pumpkin to show off your Halloween spirit! We gathered a few tips that are sure to help you step up your jack-o-lantern-making skills this year.

1. Use a serrated knife to cut a lid in the pumpkin. When cutting the hole, cut at an angle, as opposed to up and down, so the lid won’t fall into the pumpkin when you place it on top. Alternatively, if you are using an electric light with a cord, making the hole in the side can help you hide the cord and plug in the light with ease.

2. After all of the pumpkin’s insides have been scooped out, transfer a design to the pumpkin’s surface. Affix a template to the pumpkin, such as a piece of paper with eyes and a mouth printed on it, and trace the design by poking holes with a pin into the pumpkin.

3. Remove the template and carve along the poked-hole pattern with a miniature saw or carving tool. If you’re going for a circular look, you can use a drill equipped with a ½- to ¾-inch spade bit.

4. Keep the pumpkin fresh by spreading petroleum jelly on its cut edges. If it still manages to shrivel, soak it facedown in water for up to eight hours.

5. Light it up! If using a candle, place it in a glass holder with high sides, and be sure to create a chimney. Place the lid on the pumpkin while the candle is burning, and after a few minutes, cut a hole where the lid has blackened.

*Tips compiled from Good Housekeeping and Martha Stuart.