Step 1: Choose a Pumpkin
Step 2: Make a Lid
Step 3: Choose a Pattern
Step 3: Tape Your Pattern
Step 4: Transfer Your Pattern
Step 5: Scoop Out Seeds
Step 6: Scrape the Inside
Step 5: Carve Your Pumpkin
Step 6: Add Light!
Courtesy of Taste of Home
Choose a pumpkin that is an appropriate size and shape for the design you wish to carve. Tall pumpkins may lend themselves better to faces. For designs with lots of cutouts, look for large, round pumpkins with smooth surfaces. Look for a pumpkin with a flat bottom that will sit upright.
For a lid: Draw a 6-sided lid with a V-shaped notch at the back. This notch will serve as a guide to replace the lid.
For a bottom: Draw an opening on the bottom of your pumpkin if you want to sit it over a candle. Be sure to draw the opening large enough so that it will be easy to reach inside and scoop out the contents when cut.
Decide which patterns you want to use, and trace the design onto tracing paper.
Psst, we have 12 patterns right here! »
Wipe the pumpkin clean with a soft damp cloth and dry. Tape the pattern to the pumpkin.
To transfer the patterns to the pumpkin, use a pushpin, corsage pin or the tip of the poker tool to poke holes through the paper and into the pumpkin along the design lines about 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch apart. Make sure that all of the lines have been transferred. Remove paper, and use a pen or dull-point pencil to connect the dots. Save the paper patterns to refer to while carving.
Scoop out the seeds and strings from inside the pumpkin. Use a large spoon or ice-cream scoop or the plastic scraper scoop that is made for this purpose.
Scrape the inner pulp away from the area of the pumpkin that you plan to carve until the pumpkin wall is approximately 1 inch thick. To check the thickness, insert a straight pin into the wall.
Cradle the pumpkin in your lap, and keep the pumpkin saw or small paring knife at a 90-degree angle to the pumpkin while carving. Carve from dot to dot to cut out the pattern shapes. If an older child wants to help, the saw is much safer than a knife but still requires adult supervision. Push the cut pieces into the pumpkin with your fingers. If a large piece becomes wedged, cut it into smaller pieces.
Insert a short column candle, votive or battery-operated light in the pumpkin. If the candle is not in a holder, form a holder from aluminum foil and secure the candle with a few drops of melted wax.
© 2012 Reiman Media Group, LLC.