Pumpkin Carving Made Easy

I remember, as a child, watching my mother carve our Halloween pumpkin. It was a struggle to cut out the small triangular features with an unwieldy kitchen knife. We didn’t always manage to get the teeth going in the right direction, and some of these jack-o’-lanterns were decidedly more successful than others.

Thankfully, there are now tool kits on the market created especially for carving pumpkins. With these tools to the rescue, carving pumpkins is easier than ever before and, therefore, the designs can be as amusing or enchanting as you wish to make them. You can mix and match our pattern shapes or create some of your own — cookie cutters and coloring books are good sources for inspiration.

Although any actual cutting should be left for the adults, there are plenty of opportunities for children of all ages to participate. Going to the pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkin is a great beginning.

1. Funny Face
For this Funny Face pumpkin cut two ear shapes (one from each side); then when you have completed the rest of the carving, put the tab inserts into the cutout holes and secure with straight pins. A little experience and a steady hand are required for the areas around the eyes. If in doubt, eliminate the teardrop shape directly under the eye to avoid carving the thinner strips. Pumpkins can be scooped out from the top or the bottom. Cut a lid or a bottom candle opening as desired.

2. Galaxy of Stars
Let the stars shine through, and a crescent moon as well, in this Galaxy of Stars design. Cut as many stars as fit your pumpkin and place the carved lantern on the doorstep or in a window to welcome trick-or-treaters.

3. Autumn Leaves
Falling leaves are the inspiration for this Autumn Leaves design. By scattering maple- and elm leaf-shaped patterns at angles, the result is a windblown look that is appropriate for the season.

4. Going Batty
Going Batty describes the cutout designs circling all around this carved creation. Two different sizes fly over the surface. As with Autumn Leaves and Galaxy of Stars, this pumpkin looks equally enchanting from all sides. When not on display, store your carved pumpkin in a refrigerator with plastic wrap covering all the carved areas.

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