First, pick the perfect pumpkin
Have your design in mind before you pick a pumpkin. Be able to answer, does your pattern require more width or height to pull off? If you are planning to use a candle, go taller: if a pumpkin is too short and squat, the candle will burn the roof. Once you pick a size, give your pumpkin a knock with your fist; a hollow sound indicates it is riper, and easier to carve. Finally, test the pumpkin’s stability by placing it on a flat surface before purchasing. No wobble? You’re ready to carve! Need inspiration? Check out these free pumpkin carving stencils you’ll love.
Give yourself more room to scoop
If your go-to move for carving a pumpkin is cutting a circular hole around the stem, you’re making your seed scooping job about ten times harder than it could be. Instead, cut a large keyhole shape into the pumpkin that starts around the stem and extends down the side, like this. You’ll be able to reach your entire arm directly into the pumpkin’s side for effortless scooping and candle-placing.
OR, start carving from the bottom
Instead of cutting a hole in the top of your pumpkin, start from the bottom. Cut out a circle and throw that piece away for good; this is where your candle will sit, flat on the ground with the pumpkin around it. This method also makes scooping easier. Thanks to gravity, a sizable chunk of pumpkin guts will fall out right with your bottom hole. Caveat: Without a top hole for ventilation, you should only burn a candle for about 30 minutes, or use LED lights instead. Plus, check out some pretty no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas to change things up this year.