Spooky Pumpkin Carving

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Halloween isn't Halloween without a spooky jack o’ lantern. Read on and we’ll tell you how to make your own… if you’re brave enough!

Buy the perfect pumpkin

First you need to choose the right pumpkin to carve. Try your local supermarket or farmer’s market, if they have a good selection of pumpkins for sale. Choose a fresh, decent-sized, rounded pumpkin that doesn’t have bruises or cuts. Knock on the skin. If it sounds hollow then the pumpkin is ripe and will be easier to cut into. Don’t buy it too early or the pumpkin won’t last til Halloween.

Decide on a spooky design

It’s easiest to draw this out on a piece of paper. Cut out the shapes to create a template. There are plenty of templates on the internet or draw your own. Otherwise why not try with our Sunny D logo!

Draw your design onto the pumpkin

Use a marker pen to outline your chosen design onto the pumpkin. Or you can pin your template to the pumpkin, and mark out the lines using pins or a small knife to show you where to cut.

Carve the pumpkin lid first

Measure the lid at about 5 cm from the stalk. Make it a circle, a star, square or any other shape. Then cut along this line to make the lid. Use a sharp, serrated knife. Don’t cut vertically, instead cut at an angle, pointing the knife in towards the stem. That way the lid will balance, and not fall into the cavity of the pumpkin. You may need to carve a slice off the bottom of the pumpkin so that it is stable and doesn’t wobble around.

Remove the centre of the pumpkin

Use your hands or a large spoon to scoop out the contents of the pumpkin, removing all the seeds. The more you can scrape out, the easier it will be to carve. Also more light will shine through. Ideally you want the walls to be just 2-3 cm thick. (You can rinse and toast the pumpkin seeds to eat.)

Carve out your design

Use a sharp pointed knife to cut into the pumpkin. Remove the cut-out pieces as you go along. Keep following the lines you’ve drawn until the whole design is cut. Rub a little Vaseline or lemon juice onto the edges you’ve cut. This will stop the flesh going brown.

Light your pumpkin

Traditionally jack o’lanterns are lit with candles or nightlights. If you do use a real candle, the holes have to be large enough to let in oxygen and keep the flame burning. But you can also use a small torch or battery-powered night light.

Show off your masterpiece

Choose a good place for your pumpkin so that it can be seen from outside the house. Avoid placing it on anything wooden – every year fires are started when pumpkins with open flames get knocked over or fall over.

Turn down the lights, break open the Sunny-D and share those spooky stories!