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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Top Ten Tips for Turning a Pumpkin into a Jack-o-Lantern

1. Create your design on paper first. Sketch until you achieve the look you’re after. Save that piece of paper. You’re going to need it later.

2. Pick a pumpkin with a shape and color that works best with your sketch. A warty skin and round orange shape may be perfect for a witch face design. A ghost face may work best with a tall, slender white variety.

3. Spread newspaper over the table where you’re working for easy clean-up.

4. Assemble your tools. You can purchase a carving kit, or you can create your own with kitchen utensils. You’ll need a big metal spoon for scooping and scraping out seeds and membrane, a grapefruit knife for carving curves, a nut pick for piercing an outline of your design on the pumpkin, a medium sized butcher knife for cutting the top, and a serrated steak knife for cutting straight lines.

5. Tape your design onto the pumpkin, then use the nut pick to punch the design into the pumpkin. This method works much better than trying to draw on a rippled surface.

6. After the design is pierced into the pumpkin’s flesh, cut the top. If you’re using a real votive candle, make certain to cut a 3” by 4”slot into the back of your pumpkin below where the top sits for air flow, so that your candle flame doesn’t fizzle out due to lack of oxygen.

7. Using the big metal spoon and your hands, scoop out the seeds and membranes and set them on your newspaper.

8. Carve the design following the punched outline. A sawing motion works best. Place your discarded wall pieces with the seed mess. When you’re done, roll up all the mess in the newspaper and throw it in the trash.

9. With your spoon, scrape a flat surface on the bottom center of your pumpkin interior where you will place your votive candle.

10. Use a long fireplace match or a fireplace lighter to light the votive wick inside the pumpkin so you don’t burn your fingers. Sit back and admire your work.

What do you usually carve? A traditional Jack-o-lantern face or something unique?



At 1:36 PM, Blogger Judy said...

I don't actually cut up my pumpkin. I use yellow on black construction paper to create the facial features. Then tape the features onto the pumpkin "face." When Halloween is over, I peel the pumpkin, grate it, and freeze it to use in pumpkin bread throughout the year.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Judy, what a great tip! I haven't carved a pumpkin in a few years. This makes me want to start carving asap! :)

At 9:49 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Here's a pumpkin bread recipe from

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I'm impressed. I like the idea--very environmentally conscious.

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Thanks for sharing your pumpkin bread recipe. It sounds yummy!

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

When the kids were home, pumpkin carving was a favorite holiday ritual (my twins were born in late October, and hubby was late getting to the hospital on the day I was released because he and #1 son had to stop at the pumpkin patch on the way). I'd roast the seeds, and hubby would supervise the carving. We gave each kid a pumpkin to design and carve (those little pumpkin carving kits with the serrated little knives are GREAT).

They got very creative - son did "Hobbes" from Calvin and Hobbes one year. Not sure this link to one of my Facebook albums will work here but you can hunt for it. He did Hobbes while he was in high school; the other two are recent ones my daughters did

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Very cool!

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Wow, Terry, those pumpkin carvings are great!!!


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