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How to carve a pumpkin

Step one/Credit:AJC

Step one/Credit:AJC

Halloween is coming, and I’m already seeing goofy costumes and tacky decor in local drug and grocery stores. I love it. It’s the only time of year when it’s absolutely acceptable to be tacky. Plus I’m a sucker for candy corn. Here’s a how-to on pumpkin carving that originally appeared in the AJC’s food section

Step one: the first cut is the deepest — use a sharp utility or chef’s knife to make that first down ward stroke into the top of your soon-to-be jack-o-lantern.

Step two/credit: AJC

Step two/credit: AJC

Step two: create a “lid” by slicing off the excess flesh and seeds, then start burrowing out the inside of your pumpkin.

Step 3/credit: AJC

Step 3/credit: AJC

Step three: get the goo out. This is actually one of the most important steps — the cleaner your pumpkin is on the inside, the easier it will be to carve. Once all the flesh and seeds are removed, use a scooping tool to shave the area you’ll be carving down to no more than about one-inch thickness. That way, you’ll be able to cut more intricate designs later.

Step four/credit: AJC

Step four/credit: AJC

Step four: use a template to trace your design onto your pumkin. Punch holes with a sharp knife or piercing tool. This design is by Alex, then 16, from a cover story pumpkin-carving contest for the AJC’s food section back in 2007.

Step five/credit:AJC

Step five/credit:AJC

Step five: Now you can carve your pumpkin with ease. Use a carving saw, available in Pumpkin Masters kits for about $5 at craft stores. Wood carving tools can be used for fine definitions.

Happy Halloween/credit:AJC

Happy Halloween/credit:AJC

15 comments Add your comment

[...] It sounds like a bad comedy, but really: make sure costumes are flame retardant and stay away from jack-o-lanterns. (Don’t hurt yourself making one of those, either. Here’s how to carve a pumpkin.) [...]

GeorgiaBorn

October 30th, 2009
12:02 am

I heard you should cut a hole in the lid so smoke or heat from the candle can escape. Is that accurate? Anybody?

Kevin

October 29th, 2009
11:19 pm

One suggested change to make it easier later. First turn it upside-down and cut the opening on the bottom. This can be in addition to the top or only on bottom. That way you can later lit the whole thing up, set the candle on the base and light it, then set the jack-o-lantern on top if the cut-out base. Much easier to light!

atlstarter

October 25th, 2009
12:00 pm

Your hands are perfectly fine. Good Lord.

Herbert Laws

October 14th, 2009
3:15 pm

“Freaky” hands? Now that is tacky, and a very freaky comment. Jesus!! Welcome to the 21st century, the most mindless era in the history of man. I’ll retire to bedlam.