A GHOULISH GUIDE TO CARVING
BY HILTON HEAD MONTHLY
The spooky season of Halloween is a time when temperatures drop, but in our area the humidity likes to linger. Carving a pumpkin is a fun tradition. Here are some carving tips and tricks to ensure your pumpkin stays delightfully terrifying throughout the holiday.
PICK A PRIME PUMPKIN
To get things started, look for a pumpkin that is fresh with a sturdy stem. The pumpkin shouldn’t have any bruises and ideally has a flat bottom. It is best to seek out a pumpkin that has a deep orange color and one that has a hollow sound when you tap on it. Listen for an echoing sound.
An elongated pumpkin is good for carving a laughing face, or a short, fat pumpkin could be used for a wide grin, according to scoutlife.org.
When carving into the pumpkin be sure to cut a hole at the bottom, which will give you more space at the top to carve without disturbing the lid. Be sure to remove the pulp to slow the rotting process (try an ice cream scoop or large serving spoon). This includes scraping the walls. If possible, use a scraping tool to thin the shell. Affordable carving kits are widely available — and advised — to help make the process a little easier.
TRACE OUT A DESIGN
Have a plan before you start carving your masterpiece. Carving kits often include a marker and pre-made patterns to help you sketch a design. A tip from Taste of Home includes using sewing transfer paper to replicate the pattern onto the pumpkin. Put the transfer paper between the design and the pumpkin, making sure the paper is face down onto the pumpkin. Good Housekeeping suggests carving with the pumpkin in your lap, with the idea being it is easier to carve facial features when the face is looking up at you.
Your carving is finished — and the pumpkin looks menacing. But you want it to be displayed for more than one ghoulish night. There are ways to help preserve the pumpkin, per clickorlando.com.
Try soaking it in a bleach and water mix (1 tablespoon of bleach per 1 quart of water) for 20 minutes or coat the inside and outside with petroleum or vegetable oil.
Another tip is to apply rubbing alcohol or floor cleaner over the pumpkin once it has been washed and dried, which should prevent molding.
Spraying the pumpkin every few days with a waterand- bleach mix should fight off bacteria. Try to position your pumpkin where it avoids direct sunlight. If possible, refrigerate the pumpkin when not displayed.
These tips should make for a fun Halloween.