Carving Pumpkins for Halloween
Now is the time to consider about the great pumpkin you’ll be carving this Halloween. As you know, Linus would wait all night for the Great Pumpkin, but I wouldn’t take a cue from Linus. I’d head directly to the patch with the kids in tow. Once there, after your children have moved, rolled and lifted every pumpkin, you’re probably in for a patch-side discussion about the perfect pumpkin. Whether you plan to decorate with a row of small and medium-sized gourds or a single huge one, be sure the pumpkin you choose is able to rest on a flat surface. If you can get a hugh one home, half your battle is over. In selecting the pumpkin, pass over any with bruises, cracks or broken stems, because they tend to rot quickly.
Now it is time to consider a plan for carving your pumpkin. Should you carve a portrait or the standard eyes, nose and mouth shape? The Internet provides many different how-to articles on carving a pumpkin for the skilled at heart or for those who just want a simple pattern. Today, you don’t have to grab your normal kitchen spoon and knife; the Internet can provide you with a wide assortment of pumpkin carving tools to assist in carving your masterpiece
Here are some basic steps in carving your first pumpkin. Keep reading and I will tell you where you can find out how to carve a portrait pumpkin of your MOM. Now that’s scary.
Carving should be done no earlier than a day or two before Halloween-jack-o’-lanterns have short lives unless you preserve your pumpkin.
Basic Carving Tips
Draw your design on the pumpkin with a water-based marker beforehand.
Out of the top, cut the lid at an angle with a sharp, straight-edged knife. This prevents the top from falling into the pumpkin when it shrinks. Remove seeds and pulp.
Never hold the knife in a stabbing position.
When carving, keep a portion of the knife blade in the pumpkin and use slow, steady saw strokes.
Carve the facial features closest to the center first and work outward. Cut out the larger features in sections.
Remove carved portions by gently pushing them into or out of the pumpkin.
Reattach a section that is accidentally removed by using a toothpick to pin it back in place.
Flatten a spot at the base of the pumpkin for the candle, but avoid digging too deep because the pumpkin becomes prone to rot.
Basic Carving Patterns
Carving Portrait Pumpkins
Have you ever wondered how to carve a pumpkin portrait? It really isn’t that difficult. Some companies protect the process like a trade secret, but of course, you can find instructions on the Web. All you need is a photo of something scary like your Dad or Mom, a scanner or a digital camera and software from PhotoShop or Paintshop pro.
In my review of several homepages, I was able to follow the provided steps and I think I’ll give a whirl this year. If you decide to join me, be sure to read through the instructions once or twice; then begin carving and see what happens.
You can make a portrait of a two-level image or you can do a three level image. A two-level image is just like the basic pumpkin. A three-level image uses the skin as level one, flesh with the skin removed and reduced in thickness as level two, and holes leading all the way through to the center of the pumpkin as level three. These links include instructions for carving both kinds of jack-o-lantern:
Most of these links provide additional information about tools that can help you in your carvings. Remember to bring your porch pumpkin indoors on nights when the temperature is expected to drop below freezing.
Additional Pumpkin Pages