Pumpkin Carving Hacks

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With Halloween right around the corner, I am going to break down some of the best pumpkin carving hacks that will take your jack-o-lanterns from ordinary to extraordinary! I’ve got some cutting edge stuff…so grab your power drill, cookie cutter and hammer, let’s pimp these pumpkins!

PICKING THE PUMPKIN

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The key to pumpkin carving is picking the perfect one! I personally like going to the patch to pick the pumpkins with my kids because it is a great activity and they get to be apart of the process. When you are going to select your pumpkin it’s important to look for a a hard sturdy stem (soft stem means the pumpkin will rot quicker), avoid pumpkins with soft spots as these are signs of mold or rotting and look for a pumpkin that is going to stand upright you want to make sure it doesn’t roll off your porch! ALSO - this tip is key - the heavier the pumpkin the thicker the lining inside is. So, if you don’t want to spend hours scraping out the inside of your pumpkin then I suggest searching for the lightest one!

TOOLS

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When you go to the pumpkin patch, the grocery store, or even Target, I guarantee you’ve passed by the orange set of pumpkin carving tools. Once October hits, it’s like they’re everywhere!

I highly recommend purchasing these tools, the brand I used is Pumpkin Masters. They are so much better than trying to use a knife from your kitchen and much safer for the kids too. These tools last years (I seriously think I’ve had mine for 5 years).

This year, I’m also pulling out some of my halloween cookie cutters, my meat tenderizer, some thumbtacks, and a power drill…I know you’re thinking I’m crazy but you'll see!

CLEANING OUT YOUR PUMPKIN

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Cleaning out and gutting the pumpkins can sometimes be the hardest part so this is why it’s really important to have the tools that we talked about! Once you’ve cut a circle around the stem (the size of this circle can vary, just make sure your hand can fit in to clean it out!) You’ll use your scraping tools to really loosen up all the seeds. I find it’s easiest instead of trying to scoop it out to start by pushing it down and off the walls. When you do this you can just turn the pumpkin over your trashcan and all the insides will come out. Once you’ve taken care of all the guts, you will want to thin the walls. Using the same scraper tool, scrape from bottom to top, tossing any excess pumpkin that comes along. It’s important to thin the walls out because this makes carving SO much easier!!

STENCILING

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Stencils are the best for those of us who like our porch to be decked out with some crazy pumpkin designs! I printed my stencil off of pumpkinstencils.org and they had so many options, but I went with the ghost! Once you have your stencil and your gutted pumpkin, you’re going to tape the stencil onto the pumpkin and use a thumbtack to make an outline of where you are going to cut. The thumbtack marks make it so much easier to cut the pumpkin and they serve as a guide! Once you’ve traced the whole design with your thumbtack, lift up the stencil and you can start cutting out your pumpkin design!

COOKIE CUTTER/POWER DRILL

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This is where things really get interesting! Using cookie cutters and a power drill is a great and easy way to add some spunk to your pump!

I bought all sorts of fun halloween cookie cutters from Amazon, but my favorites were the bat and the ghost! Once you’ve cleaned out your pumpkin and thinned the walls (this is where thinning the walls is extra important) you are going to take your cookie cutter and a meat tenderizer, then all you have to do is hammer the cookie cutter into the pumpkin and you’ll have the perfect shape! You can even use the shaped piece of pumpkin that comes out of the cookie cutter as extra decor!

The power drill is just another great way to add some style to your pumpkin and it allows for more light to come through when you put a candle inside! Which brings me to…

LETS GET LIT!

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Once your pumpkins are all carved it’s time to make them shine! You can buy pumpkin tea lights at any target or pumpkin patch and you can of course use any type of electronic candle, or string of LED lights! If you’re wanting to go old school, grab the matches and light a real candle inside your pimped out pumpkin!

PAINTED PUMPKINS

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For those of you who are maybe a little grossed out by the idea of “gutting” the pumpkin, this is the perfect solution! Using acrylic paints the pumpkin is your very own canvas.

ICE CREAM CONE:

The ice cream cone is one of my favorites because it is SO cute and it really does look like ice cream!!

To make this, I used Crayola model magic to add that thick “just-been-scooped” texture to the bottoms of the pumpkins. This also really helped hold the entire thing in place. The key is to find a flatter white pumpkin to use as the base and then make sure the pumpkins get smaller for the 2nd and 3rd scoop so it doesn’t topple over!

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DONUT PUMPKINS:

These donut pumpkins are adorable and they were a great activity for me and my daughter! I used the small pumpkins that they had at the patch and then took a flesh color acrylic paint to base coat them. I would recommend using a white primer spray paint before using the acrylic paint to save you from having to do multiple coats! Once you’ve got them all prepped (don’t forget to cut and paint the stem!) then it’s time to add the “frosting”. I personally think the chocolate looks the best, but you can do white, pink, blue, orange, whatever kind you want! After that dries you top with different colored “sprinkes”, these are sure to be a hit!

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EXPERT PAINTERS:

For those of you who love to paint, I suggest finding the biggest pumpkin at the patch and spraying it with white primer. This gives you the freedom to paint it however you please!

PUMPKIN FLOWER ARRANGEMENT

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This is a great twist on a classic flower arrangement and it is sure to add some fall flare to your table! All you have to do is use a small round vase that will fit inside the pumpkin (i got mine from hobby lobby in a few different sizes). Then add your flowers and some water and you’ve got yourself a beautiful pumpkin arrangement!


 
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