How to carve a Halloween pumpkin

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  • An entry in the Youth Library Pumpkin Carving Competition. This one was entered by the Sawn Family in the Family Category (Photo by Akil Simmons) October 25,2012

    An entry in the Youth Library Pumpkin Carving Competition. This one was entered by the Sawn Family in the Family Category (Photo by Akil Simmons) October 25,2012

  • Say cheese! A pumpkin gives a toothy grin in the Youth Library pumpkin carving competition in the funniest category. This entry was by Chole McCallum(Photo by Akil Simmons) October 25,2012

    Say cheese! A pumpkin gives a toothy grin in the Youth Library pumpkin carving competition in the funniest category. This entry was by Chole McCallum(Photo by Akil Simmons) October 25,2012

  • Chloe McCallum's pumpkin looks spooky when the lights are turned off at the Youth Library. (Photo by Akil Simmons) October 25,2012

    Chloe McCallum's pumpkin looks spooky when the lights are turned off at the Youth Library. (Photo by Akil Simmons) October 25,2012


A friend of mine was recently grumbling that his four-year-old picked the most complicated Halloween pumpkin carving pattern from a craft book, then walked away to watch a movie. Whatever happened to the days when our only choices were triangles or circles for eyes, my friend grumbled.

Here are some quick tips for pumpkin carving:

1. The first step is in picking a good pumpkin. A nice firm stem is an indication of a healthy pumpkin. A flat bottom is an indication of a pumpkin that won’t roll away on you. Pick one that is unbruised. Although it might be tempting to grab a small one, thinking you’ll get the task over with faster, it’s actually going to be a lot easier to make a nice pattern on a big pumpkin than a small one.

2. If you have little ones, you’d better handle the knife, or let them draw a pattern on the pumpkin with black marker or stick stickers on it. You won’t have the spooky light coming through but at least they will feel the satisfaction of knowing they decorated the pumpkin.

3. Gone are the days of abusing dad’s favourite fishing knife to chop away at your vegetable. If you are serious about your carving you can actually buy a whole range of tools to carve the perfect design including pokers, stencils, scrapers, and special saws. Just Google ‘pumpkin carving tools’ or have a look around in local stores.

4. If you don’t have a pumpkin, you could actually do the exact same thing with a watermelon, and the contents taste better. A haunted watermelon seems more in keeping with a Bermuda theme, somehow.

5. The secret to any carving project is planning. Draw your design on paper first, before hacking into your pumpkin.

6. Keep the pulp. When Halloween is over, mix the pulp with soil, fill the pumpkin and set outside in the garden. The seeds will germinate keeping the children fascinated for weeks or months to come, as long as you remember to water your pumpkin.

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Published Oct 30, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm)

How to carve a Halloween pumpkin

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