It’s time-honored tradition. October rolls around, the air turns chilly and the children start talking about carving pumpkins for the front steps. But before you head out to the pumpkin patch, check out these tips from four of our favorite pumpkin experts. Carving a pumpkin is much trickier than it appears, and with children involved, things can be even trickier when you consider the blades and goop involved. But fear not, the whole family can have fun, and all you need it a pumpkin. So, ignore the fancy stencil kits and take notes.
1) Do a Push-Pin Tracing
High school art teacher Edward Palmer says "nonsense" to the need for store bought stenciling kits. To carve a great pumpkin you need a great imagination, but not expensive art. Draw a picture of a face, or anything else, on a piece of paper, hold it up to the pumpkin, and use push pins to "trace" the picture onto the pumpkin before carving it out. See more of Palmers tips in his book, Pumpkin Carving.
2) Prep Your Space
It’s messy, but with the right preparations, you needn’t worry about the mess, according to Peter Cole. Once you’ve cut the lid off your pumpkin and are preparing to scoop out the goop, gather the kids round and ask them to dig in. But first…all you need is to lay some newspapers flat, have a trashcan or two handy and then go for it. You and your children can use your bare hands or spoons, and remember, be sure to cut everyone’s finger nails before hand so no pulp gets stuck, and gets painful, under your children’s hands. For more of Cole’s tips, see his book Crafty Carvings for Halloween.
3) Pick The Right Pumpkin!
A bigger canvas is always easier for little hands to find their way, and so is a bigger pumpkin. While Victor Hood’s book "Extreme Pumpkin Carving" has lots of great tips for intricate and beautiful designs, his best tip may be to pick a big and elongated pumpkin that will give you and your children the freedom to make mistakes and start over. You can find more of his tips at Amazon.com.
Do Not Try This at Home!
Powertools, pyrotechnics and WD-40…need I say more. If you want to thrill your children with amazing pumpkin designs, but not necessarily include them in the fun, then we suggest you check out this site. Tom Nardone is a master at providing tips for how to create spectacular designs with tools that you probably have lying around the house. Save the big smiley face pumpkin for the kids, and go carve an extreme pumpkin on your own (be sure to check out the cannibal pumpkin)!
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