Get out to the pumpkin patch and pick up your perfect spherical orange gourd. We have some tips on how to carve up the perfect spooky jack-o-lantern.

You've been out to the local pumpkin patch enjoying hay rides and apple cider and picked out the perfect pumpkins in all sizes and colors (yes, there are more than just orange). Now' it's time to get carving! Your Halloween jack-o-lanterns need not be spooky. Some are cute, some funny, some incredibly elaborate. Check out our ideas for jack-o- -anterns and get the right tools for carving. Oh, and if you're wondering what to do with those pumpkin seeds you scooped up from the inside, we have ideas on that too.

 

Choose the right gourd

                                     


There are so many choices out there, so how do you pick the right pumpkin for carving? Most pumpkin stands will label the pumpkins for pie or for carving so that helps but for the most part, carving pumpkins have a thinner skin and less "stuff" inside.  The best varieties include Gold Rush and Autumn Golds but to determine if you should bring one home or not, first tap it. You'll hear a hollow sound if it's good to go. It should also have the same coloring all over for best preservation and look. You'll also need to make sure there are no soft spots, so do check for that and be sure to always carry it from the bottom, not the stem.  Think ahead to next autumn and grow your own! Learn how to grow championship winning giant pumpkins.

 

                                                                   Gather your tools

 

  

Sure, you could just use a knife and scoop but why do that when you can have a 14-piece professional pumpkin carving tool kit now at 52% off and just $17? The Halloween Haunters Ultimate set comes with every tool any level of carver would need to easily carve realistic amazing details into your own Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkins. All tools are mounted in either sturdy plastic riveted handles or firmly set in beech hardwood handles. it comes with a heavy duty stainless steel pumpkin scoop tool with scraper, 4 double-sided stainless steel detail sculpting tools, 2 intricate detail carving loop tools, 2 large rind carving loops, hole cutter, etching and relief chisel, plus large, medium and fine tooth sturdy saws. All of our carving tools have sharp beveled cutting edges.  Get yours now.  

Prep your pumpkin

                                                

Follow our tips for pumpkin prep -- 

1.  Cut the lid on an angle rather than straight up and down so the lid doesn't drop to the bottom

2.  Scoop out all of the pulp and seeds but keep going until you have about an inch of "wall" left so it's easier to carve. When you get those seeds out, save them and use these recipes for all those delicious pumpkin seeds.

3. Save the scraps for making little accessories like tongues, horns and barf

4. Spread vasoline on the edges where you've cut to seal in the moisture and prevent rot

5. Put a candle into your jack-o-lantern and light it up. Look to see where it burns and make a little whole where you see the blackening to create a vent. 

 

Make it easy with stencils

                                                

Free-form your jack-o-lantern design and carve by inspiration alone, or get some tools to help with the design. Stencils are easy to apply ot your pumpkin. Just draw inside the spaces and carve along the lines. The Ultimate Stencil Book has 10 stencil pieces with elegant, detailed designs like ghosts, grim reapers and aliens. Or, get these "cookie cutters" for punching out shapes. The kit includes 31 mix and match pieces to carve a pumpkin with no knives needed.

 

Go all out with intricate, yet easy-to-learn designs

                                            

Create 3D jack-o-lantern faces with Realistic Pumpkin Carving by Lundy Cupp. You'll learn carving techniques that bring out pumpkin personalities by creating three-dimensional faces with 2 step-by-step projects to help you get started. It includes 24 ready-to-use patterns for carving imaginative faces with no hollowing necessary. 

 

Don't forget the candles

                                             

Stay safe with battery-powered lights inside your jack-o-lantern. These LED lights flicker or stay steady and are remote control operated. You can adjust the intensity of the light for eerie effects, too, and set a timer to save energy.  We also like these LED tea lights which flicker, great for your pumpkin or romantic Halloween feast.

RForrest finds all the things she'll know you'll need to make Halloween super spooky special this year.  

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