Halloween is around the corner, the spookiest time of the year! Therefore, my favorite piece of decoration is currently the pumpkin. You can find plenty of these wonderful round vegetables all over America. Pumpkin patches with loaded pallets pop up everywhere. The vegetable departments in the supermarket are also packed with the orange giants and garden centers offer them in rich varieties.
At the moment, I’m super fascinated by pumpkins. And not just as a delicious ingredient in soups or pies, also as Jack O’Lantern, the pumpkin with the creepy face who scares the evil spirits away. As a Halloween freshwoman I don’t want to make an embarrassing mistake and that’s why I’ve decided to go classic: round, orange and pretty creepy.
You’ll find most of the things you might need for your very own carving action in the kitchen:
1 or 2 spoons
torch / smartphone
pen and rubber
light sources (candle, tea light, …)
Step 1: Before you start to carve, take your time to choose a nice motif. Once you’ve found something you like, sketch it with a ball pen (without pressure) on the pumpkin or download a template, affix it to the pumpkin and copy it by poking small holes with a needle along the outlines of the motif. Don’t forget to mark where your lid should be.
Step 2: The best way to carve a pumpkin is a technic I’ve learned as an architecture student: Scratch the surface slightly with a very sharp knife to create lines. With those it’s easy to carve your motif later.
Step 3: Cut off the top and put it aside. Scoop out the flesh, pulp, and the seeds with a spoon. You want to make the walls thin enough to have some light shining through. That will make the carving much easier and your result will also be a lot spookier. It’s easy to check if the walls are thin enough. Take your torch or activate the flashlight of your smartphone, place it in the empty pumpkin and close the lid. The walls are thin enough when you can see the light shining through them. If there is a dark spot just remove more flesh.
Step 4: Finally, you can carve the pumpkin. Start with the straight lines and cut the more difficult shapes towards the end when you’re a bit more experienced. Sometimes you might need to apply some pressure but please don’t overdo it. You want to carve the pumpkin and not your hand. If you just want to carve surficial like I did it partially, you just need to scratch the surface and remove the skin carefully. Don’t worry if carving seems to be hard at first, you will learn quickly how to deal with the pumpkin’s skin.
Once you’ve finished the carving, put your favorite light sources in, wait until it gets dark and: BOO!
>> Update: The pumpkin carving competition at work was a clear win for us! <<