Carve out Some Halloween Fun

Pumpkin Carving got you Stumped?

Driving around the Fairfax County area over the last couple of weeks, I have seen many pumpkin vendors on the side of the road.  They are also being sold at the big box stores and in front of the mom and pop gas stations.  This could mean only one thing: Halloween is almost here.  Just as festive as Halloween is for pumpkin displaying, Thanksgiving is as well.  Many Halloween and Thanksgiving displays in the front yards of holiday lovers incorporate the usage of pumpkins.  Not only do they use pumpkins in the raw, whole, straight off the vine form, but also the decorative, carved out version.

Gone With the Wind Pumpkin (
Gone With the Wind Pumpkin (

Seeing some of these displays can be a wonder to the eye and a bit intimidating.  Ever wonder how carving up these masterpieces is possible or do say to yourself,  “No way can I do that?”  Well, I believe that you can do it.  Having a display in the front yard with bales of straw and whole pumpkins can look festive, but interspersed with a work of art in the pumpkin form, it can really be a head turner and you can make this happen.

There are only a couple of tricks of the trade, along with a bit of determination and patience to make this come true.  First of all select a pumpkin, making sure to select a good size and color for the project and decide on a subject matter – anything at all.  Do you like sports?  Select your favorite teams’ logo.  Do you prefer musicals or famous paintings?  Whatever it is that gets you going, make the call.   Next step is to decide if you will use a template or draw your design free handed.  When you decide this, the first step is to get this drawn on your pumpkin.

You will need some tools for the next steps and they include:  A pumpkin scraping tool, a knife, an exacto knife and a small scraping set.  These are all available at either a hardware or wood working store.  If you prefer, the internet can provide you with these as well.

Now, using the knife, cut out the lid of your pumpkin, making sure to make it big enough to fit your hand and angling the cut to the middle, so the lid won’t fall in when you want to put it on the pumpkin.  Next, pull out all the seeds and stringy pumpkin guts and scrape out the inside to about the thickness of one inch on the wall.  The next step is to put a flashlight on the inside, turned on, and get to scraping out your design.  The deeper you scrape, the brighter the line will be.

You can preserve the pumpkin raw portion by spraying cooking oil on it.  This will lock in the juices for a longer period of time than it would have on its own.  Take your time scraping, you can’t glue pieces back on and make it look good.  Follow the drawing you made and your project will come alive and leave your friends and family members amazed.

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