This years' Halloween might look a little different, but you can still have an outdoor display and have fun with your family. This does not mean that you need to spend a lot of money on a huge animatronic skeleton. You can instead go for a traditional jack-o-lantern. However, this means that you have to start honing your pumpkin carving skills. The good news is that, with the right tools, this is a job that you and your family will enjoy doing together. Here are the steps you need to follow to curve the best pumpkin on the block.
Pick the Right Pumpkin
There are no strict rules when it comes to choosing the right pumpkin for a jack-o-lantern. As long as you can do the carving well, any size of a pumpkin can reach ghoulish greatness. However, you do not want to cut into a rotting pumpkin. Therefore, you need to be careful to avoid settling for a bruised pumpkin or a pumpkin with molds around the stem. You also have to get a pumpkin with a fairly flat bottom to ensure that it sits stably without rocking.
Open the Pumpkin from the Bottom
Opening your pumpkin from the bottom will ensure that that shape and the stem of the pumpkin are maintained. This should be done using an Exacto knife. To ensure that you have done it properly, you can start by drawing a circle at the bottom of the pumpkin using a Sharpie Extreme Permanent Marker. This circle should guide you when it comes to making the incision. The opening will allow you to easily remove the pulp and the seeds. It will also make it easier for you to place the candle and light it.
Remove the Seeds and the Pulp
Once you have opened the pumpkin, you can remove the seeds and the pulp using a large metal spoon and place them in a large bowl of cold water. You should then stir the mixture to separate the seeds and pulp. The seeds should settle at the top, while the pulp will go to the bottom. You can then remove the seeds and pat them dry. Once the seeds are dry, you can toss them with some salt, oil, and pepper, (for a spicier version use Holy Voodoo BBQ Rub) and roast them (stirring occasionally) at 350 degrees until they turn brown. This will be a great snack for you and your family to enjoy during and after carving.
You also need to thin the interior walls of the pumpkin to one inch to make carving easier. The best tool for this would be a potters' loop tool.
Once you have removed the seeds and the pulp, you can start carving. But before that, you need to plan out your design. You can do this by drawing the design on the pumpkin using a Sharpie Extreme Permanent Marker. Once you are satisfied with your design, you can take your carving saw and start carving.
If you are going to use a candle to light your Jack-o'-lantern, you can drill a hole at the top of the pumpkin to act as a chimney. You can use wooden skewers to secure the candle. You can also use LED pumpkin lights instead of candles. The biggest advantage of using pumpkin lights is that they allow you to decorate your pumpkin with multiple colors.
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