1. Never carry your pumpkin by the stem
Hitting up the pumpkin patch before Halloween? Always carry your soon-to-be jack-o’-lantern from below. A pumpkin’s stem is part of its visual allure, and if it snaps, it can accelerate rotting.
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2. Store your uncut pumpkin in a cool, dry place
Once pumpkins ripen, they will deteriorate fast, and heat and light speed up the process.
3. Wash your pumpkin before carving
Ready to carve your jack-o’-lantern? Not yet, you’re not. First, wash it in a solution of 4 litres water and 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach. This will help prevent mold.
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4. Plan your jack-o’-lantern pattern
Draw your jack-o’-lantern design on paper, or use one of these pumpkin-carving templates. This is easier and cleaner than drawing right on the pumpkin, and makes revisions a snap.
5. Try a little tape
To transfer a pattern to the pumpkin, 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.
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6. Think more than faces
Don’t limit your jack-o’-lantern to face designs. Moons, stars, cats, bats and witches are all fun and easy to do. Using a drill to make patterned light holes is a wonderful idea as well.
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7. Consider a jack-o’-lantern carving kit
Jack-o’-lantern carving kits can often be purchased for just a few dollars. Kits usually contain small scoops and serrated saws that aren’t commonly found in the typical toolbox. They work terrifically well when doing detailed carving work.
8. Remember to saw
When cutting out your shapes, always use a sawing motion. Saw slowly and gently. A small serrated saw is best for the detail work. Never try to cut your pumpkin with a straight-edge razor, using force; you’ll damage the pumpkin, hurt the knife, and possibly cut yourself!
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9. Make more than one jack-o’-lantern
The more jack-o’-lanterns in your Halloween display, the better. Four or five small pumpkins in a row have much more visual impact than one large one.
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10. Try faking it
If scraping out a pumpkin is too much hassle for you, consider buying a an artificial jack-o’-lantern. These are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to their realism and professional look. And they last forever, meaning you’ve already got next year’s jack-o’-lantern sorted!
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