By Jessica Sly
Have you always envied the pumpkin craftsmanship exhibited by your neighbors? Or maybe you are a hard-core pumpkin carver and wish it was an extreme sport.
Either way, there’s always room for improvement, and this year is your year to shine. How, you ask? With these secret tips of course.
1. Start by picking the best pumpkin. Look for a sturdy stem, no bruises and a flat bottom.
2. Rather than cutting a hole in the top, cut one in the bottom of the pumpkin. It’s easier to lower pumpkins over a light source. If you do cut the lid from the top, cut at an angle so it won’t fall inside the pumpkin.
3. A large metal spoon or ice cream scoop is ideal for removing the innards. While scooping, thin the inner wall of the designated face area to making carving easier.
4. Carve the pumpkin while holding it in your lap for a better angle and grip.
5. Use a serrated knife or small saw to cut out the design, sawing straight up and down, not at an angle.
6. Use your scraps to add character, such as creating a tongue out of a piece of pumpkin shell.
7. To keep mold and dehydration at bay, cover the interior and carved areas with petroleum jelly or add water mixed with a small amount of bleach to a spray bottle and apply to the pumpkin daily.
8. If you use a real candle, cut a chimney in the top of the pumpkin. You should also sprinkle some cinnamon on the inside of the lid, which will make it smell like pumpkin pie when the candle is lit.
9. Candles are great, but if you really want to push the boundaries, try Christmas lights, rainbow LEDs, strobe lights or battery-operated tea lights.