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Pumpkin carving

Pumpkin carving tips with children

Halloween and ‘trick and treating’ is growing in popularity in the UK and although we don’t all go to town with decorating the exterior of our homes, we do like to partake in a little celebratory frivolity. Children love to be involved in decorating for an occasion, so what better way to have some much-needed family time than to undertake some pumpkin carving? Younger children will naturally need to be supervised and often it’s best to only give them the blunter pumpkin carving tools to create their masterpieces! However, pumpkin carving isn’t just for children, it can be a form of art for adults too. MOLLY MAID, the house cleaning professionals, have some top advice on how to get started.

  • Rather than cutting from the top of the pumpkin, try cutting the bottom out of your pumpkin. If you have a pumpkin with the perfect stem, you may wish to preserve the top of it. The advantage of cutting out the bottom is that you can simply lift the pumpkin over your candle or tea light instead of burning yourself. However, if you prefer to cut the top, then try cutting it to look like a ‘keyhole’ so that you can easily fit your lid back on your pumpkin.
  • Then, choose the side of the pumpkin you wish to carve. When clearing your pumpkin out of the seeds and string using a pumpkin scraper (or an ice cream scoop), try scraping the side that you wish to carve so that it is thinner than the other side. By making it thinner on the inside, it will make your carving much easier and the patterns will show up better.
  • Find a pattern that you wish to carve. Remember that as this is messy business, it’s a good idea to photocopy the design or pattern.
  • Attach the design to the pumpkin using masking tape. Secure the image to the pumpkin with masking tape.
  • Attempt a dot to dot type pattern by punching holes through your pattern and basically tracing the image onto your pumpkin. If you don’t have a pumpkin masters poker, you can use a small nail from your toolbox, but ensure that children are all supervised. It is important that there are holes on every line of your design.
  • Now remove the design, then dust some flour over the surface of the pumpkin as this will help to show up your design.
  • Now for the pumpkin carving! If you are using the carving saws or tools from supermarket (or any other tool), start cutting at the centre of your pattern and work your way out. The best motion to use is an ‘up and down’ one like a sewing machine. When needing to change directions on your pattern, remove your cutting tool, change direction, and start cutting again using the same motion as before.
  • Then, as you work along, pop your pieces out by pressing on the pumpkin from the inside. They should pop out fairly easily if you have.
  • If any of your pattern pieces break not all is lost with your pumpkin as you can secure broken pieces with a toothpick.
  • There are a few tricks to help preserve a pumpkin. You can try soaking your pumpkin in ice water with bleach. 3.5 litres of water to 1 teaspoon of bleach. This preparation also helps to kill any bacteria that will break it down. The other alternative is to run the inside of the pumpkin and the cuttings with petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline. The vaseline coats the pumpkin and helps it last longer.
  • Only place your pumpkin outside once it is dry. To help reflect the candle light, place some aluminium foil underneath. If the candles are not burning brightly, cut a small hole in the top of the pumpkin. The opening brings oxygen in and allows for the smoke and heat to escape the pumpkin!
  • Finally, take a photo and be proud of your pumpkin carving!