Pumpkin carving

Pumpkin Carving and Clean-up Made Easy

One of the staples of the fall holidays is the tradition of carving pumpkins. While we all look forward to this fun family activity, the task of setting up and cleaning up after the fun can be a little daunting. But, with a few tips and tricks from Happy Maids, you can make pumpkin carving and clean-up an easy and enjoyable process.

Setting up:

Pumpkin can stain wood, fabric, carpet, and many other surfaces. We all know how messy pumpkin carving can be, so it’s important to protect your home from the mess. If the weather is nice, take advantage and carve your pumpkins outside. If you decide to carve indoors, find a large open area on the floor, or a large sturdy table. Start by cutting the seams of a few garbage bags. Cover your work area with the plastic and then a few layers of old newspapers to help soak up the excess pumpkin guts. Set out your carving tools, a damp rag for easy cleanup, and a large bowl in the center of the table.

Before you start, wipe your pumpkin clean with the damp rag. Draw a lid around the stem with a V-shaped notch toward the back to help you replace the lid with ease. Draw the opening large enough so that you can easily reach inside and scoop out the contents. Using a large kitchen knife, cut the lid off your pumpkin, angling the handle of the knife outward to keep it from falling in on itself. This step should only be done by an adult. Use a large spoon to scoop out all the contents and scrape away some of the inner walls of the pumpkin to make carving easier. Collect the pulp in the large bowl (separate out the seeds to roast later!).

The fun part (the pumpkin carving):

Now comes the moment you’ve been waiting for: the carving. The most difficult part of pumpkin carving might be deciding which design to carve! Fortunately, there are hundreds of designs that can be found online for free. Print off your design on regular printer paper and tape it down to your dried off pumpkin. Make a few cuts in the paper to help it lay flat against the curved surface. Use a tack or toothpick (a tack is easier to hold) to puncture holes through the paper along the design lines about 1/8 inch apart. Remove the paper and use a pen or dull pencil to connect the dots. Save the paper pattern to refer back to while carving. If you’re feeling extra creative, you can also choose to hand draw your design.

Once your design is transferred to your pumpkin, use a small serrated knife to cut it out. Many pumpkin carving kits come with big-kid friendly carving tools, however, adult supervision is always needed. Always use caution when using a knife. Cut away from yourself; never pull the knife up towards yourself. Keep the knife at a 90-degree angle to the pumpkin as you carve. Use your fingers to push out the cut pieces. If a cut section of your design doesn’t come out easily the first time, run the blade through it again, cut it into small sections, or try to push out that section from the inside. If you happen to cut through a section by mistake, reattach the pieces with toothpicks.

The cleanup:

After all the fun, dispose of the pumpkin pulp into a garbage bag. Bring all tools to the sink, and use the damp rag to wipe the leftover goo off your pumpkin. Clean up your work area by folding in the edges of the plastic and newspapers until you have a compact bundle you can throw away.

Coat the cut areas of the pumpkin with a thin layer of Vaseline to help preserve your masterpiece until Halloween. The easiest and safest option is to illuminate your pumpkin with a flameless tea light; for effect, they even make lights that flicker like real candles! Now, all that is left is to replace the lid, and watch your masterpiece glow!

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