Basic pumpkin-carving tips to help you carve the perfect pumpkin for Halloween:
Be sure to cover your work area (a countertop, table, or floor) with newspapers or a sheet of heavy plastic. If you plan to carve lots of pumpkins, you might want to work outside where any debris can be hosed off or swept away.
Decide whether you will be cutting the top or the bottom off of the pumpkin in order to remove the seeds. If you cut a hole in the top, you’ll have an easy way to vent the heat from a candle. If you cut off the bottom, you’ll have easier access for an electric light cord.
Before cutting into the pumpkin, determine how wide to cut the access hole. The hole should be large enough to fit your hand through, as well as accommodate a spoon or other scraping tool. If you’re not quite sure how large a hole to cut, try a hole about 6 inches in diameter.
You can draw your jack-o-lantern design on a piece of paper and transfer the design to the pumpkin. You can also draw right on the pumpkin. Be aware, however, that a pencil or pen can dent the flesh of the pumpkin and a permanent marker may not wash off. If you’re drawing directly on the pumpkin, use washable markers or waxy china pencils instead.
Once you have drawn the circular area for the lid (or bottom), begin cutting with a knife or pumpkin saw. Knives will cut faster, but not quite as accurately. Saws are fairly delicate and it may take longer to patiently saw out the opening. If you use too much pressure on a pumpkin saw, (sold in kits) the blade may snap off.
Be sure to cut the top out holding the knife at a 45 degree angle, with the tip of the knife pointing toward the center of the pumpkin. Why? So the lid has a surface to sit on and it won’t slip through the opening into the pumpkin.
Choose which side of the pumpkin will be the “front”. Then on the back side make a mark with a pen or cut a slit in both the lid and the adjoining pumpkin edge to mark how the lid should be realigned after carving.
Next, get your hands slimy by reaching in to pull out the strings and seeds. Scrape this material away from the sides and the bottom with a heavy serving spoon (don’t use your best silver!) or another kitchen utensil such as an ice cream paddle.
Continue scraping until all of the strings have been dislodged then reach in to remove everything that is loose. You should end up with a clean inside, free from pumpkin seeds or strings.
For easier carving, keep scraping the areas of the pumpkin where you plan to carve. Scraping the inner walls down to a thickness of about an inch will allow knives and carving tools to more easily pierce the pumpkin’s flesh. (Test the depth of the skin by inserting a pin or small knife into an area that will be cut away.)
Remove all of these additional scrapings so the interior of the pumpkin is clean.
Draw a face or other design onto the pumpkin. Do a casual pumpkin with a freehand design or trace a pattern especially designed for pumpkins. Use a combination of non-permanent markers, china pencil, or pin pricks to mark the design. Make sure that the design does not start too low on the pumpkin or some if it may be hidden when you set it on the porch.
Carve your pumpkin where you will be comfortable — sitting at table, standing over it, or holding it in your lap. Begin carving the design. Use tools you have including paring knives, utility blades, exacto knives, wood carving tools, or pumpkin saws and tools that are readily available in pumpkin carving sets sold in grocery stores during October.
Keep carving until the design is complete. If you cut too much out by mistake, you might be able to repair the pumpkin by reattaching a piece using toothpicks or straight pins.
Test the look of your design by inserting a votive candle or flashlight into the pumpkin. Dim the room’s lights to get the full effect. You’ll be able to see where additional areas may need to be carved away or expanded to better showcase the design.
Running short of time? Plan to clean out your pumpkin one day and carve it a day or two later.
Patience and care may result in the most beautiful designs, however even haphazardly cut pumpkins can look happy and festive.
It can help to insert a tool in the center of an area to be cut away, working your way out to the actual cutting line. It may also help to begin with shallow cuts, retracing them more deeply until the pieces are removed.
Keep cut pumpkins in a cool place whenever possible. Setting them inside large plastic bags may also help keep pumpkins from drying out.
Coating all cut edges with petroleum jelly will help keep pumpkins from drying out.[youtube oTEo_Roo8uw]
While the rest of the nation dressed as Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson for Halloween, the reality starlet put that same flair for pageantry into her pink pirate wench costume on Wednesday.
In a photo obtained by TMZ, precocious 7-year-old Honey Boo Boo smiles cherubically while wearing a pink and black pigtail wig, lashes and red lips, and a pink and black pirate dress fastened with a skull-and-crossbones belt.
The Toddlers & Tiaras star finished her trick or treat look off with a festive purple jack- o’-lantern basket.
On Halloween, Honey Bo Boo was seen playing in her McIntyre home’s front yard alongside a similarly costumed friend sporting a two-tone wig, blue dress and Frankenstein stitches on her arms and legs.
According to TMZ, Honey Boo Boo had a great time and ate delicious candy, including her favorite – lollipops.
Alana Thompson has been known to ingest a junk food and “Go-Go-Juice”, a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull, that her mother June Shannon provides for her before pageant shows.
TV Guide recently confirmed that Alana Thompson’s hit TLC spin-off series, Here Comes Honey Boo, was renewed and three specials are due to air for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
The popular show follows Honey Boo Boo, along with her mother, father Mike Thompson, and her three older sisters in their rural Georgia hometown.
Honey Boo Boo dressed as pink pirate for Halloween
In a special Halloween clip released by TLC, the street-smart star told viewers that her favorite costume for the holiday was actually her “bride costume”.
“I love that costume and then you can get married in your costume,” Honey Boo Boo told cameras.
Meanwhile, her stay-at-home mother waxed lyrical about some of her favorite kids’ costumes.
“My cutest costume I’ve had for my kids would be… Alana would be a princess because she’s a princess diva,” said June Shannon.
“Jessica has been… last year when she dressed up as a kind of Madonna issue, I thought that was kinda like crazy.”
And she added of her oldest daughter who has just given birth to a six-fingered baby girl: “Anna has never been into trick or treating so she never like dressed up as a kid.”
Honey Boo Boo and her mother just returned from Los Angeles where they promoted their series on Dr. Drew,Access Hollywood, and the Jimmy Kimmel show where the tiny diva officially endorsed President Barack Obama.
Ten easy tips for storing pumpkins before carving, simple carving tips, jack-o’-lantern ideas and more…
1. Never carry your pumpkin by the stem. It’s part of the visual allure, and if it snaps, it can accelerate the pumpkin’s rotting. Always carry the pumpkin from the bottom.
2. Store your uncut pumpkin in a cool, dry place. Once pumpkins ripen, they will deteriorate fast – heat and light speed up the process.
3. Wash the exterior of the pumpkin before carving. Use a solution of 1 gallon water and 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach. This will help prevent mold.
4. Draw your pattern on paper or use a pumpkin-carving template. This is easier and cleaner than drawing right on the pumpkin and makes revisions a snap.
5. To transfer a template to the pumpkin, enlarge it, cut it out and adhere it to the pumpkin with masking tape. Then either use pinpricks to mark the shapes and lines on the pumpkin or use a craft or utility knife and cut through the design to score it on the surface.
Ten easy tips for storing pumpkins before carving, simple carving tips, jack-o’-lantern ideas and more
6. Don’t just think of face designs. Moons, stars, cats and witches are all fun and easy to do. You can even use a drill to make patterned light holes.
7. Consider buying a pumpkin-carving kit. Often they can be found for just a few dollars. Kits usually contain small scoops and serrated saws that aren’t commonly found in the typical toolbox. They’re great for detailed carving work.
8. When cutting out your shapes, always use a sawing motion. Go slowly and gently. A small serrated saw is best for the detail work. Never try to forcefully cut your pumpkin with a straight-edge razor – you’ll damage the pumpkin, hurt the knife and possibly cut yourself!
9. The more pumpkins in your display, the better. Four or five small pumpkins have much more visual impact than one large one.
10. If scraping out a pumpkin is too much hassle for you, consider buying a hollow acrylic or craft pumpkin. These are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to their realistic appearance and their ease in carving. Yes, you carve these soft plastic pumpkins just like a real one; most are made to be about 1/4 inch thick with inside colors that match a real pumpkin. And they last forever, meaning instant jack-o’-lanterns for next year!