What better way to bring seniors together with their loved ones than a pumpkin carving. October means Halloween, and Halloween means pumpkin carving. Smile Senior Care and the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers will share 7 steps for carving a great Jack O’ Lantern.
1. PIck Your Pumpkin
Like any piece of fruit, freshness is key. Pay close attention to the stem. If it’s green and intact, you know the pumpkin is fresh. Stay don’t pick the pumpkin if the stem is dry and brittle. Make sure that the skin is blemish and bruise free. The melon should also feel heavy for its size.
Warning: Do not pick a pumpkin up by its stem. The stem can snap easily and the pumpkin can fall on your foot.
2. Set Up Your Carving Station
Since pumpkin carving can get messy, make sure you line the table with plenty of newspaper. Make sure you have 2-3 large bowls available for storing guts, seeds and cutouts. Keep an assortment of knives handy, for example a small chef’s knife for cutting out the top, and a few sharp tipped paring knives for designing.
3. Pop The Lid
Cut off the top of the pumpkin, making sure you cut it large enough to scrape about the inside later on. To make it easier for you to orient the lid, cut out an triangular notch along one side. If you plan in using a candle inside the pumpkin, consider cutting out a chimney hole for the smoke to escape.
4. Scoop Out Seeds
For the first pass, scoop out the innards with your hands, removing as much flesh and seeds as possible.
Use a spoon to scrape the inside of the all the way up to the opening. Scrape away the stringy fleshy insides of the pumpkin until you have between 1-2 inches of pumpkin wall left.
6. Plan Your Design
Uses a dry-erase marker to sketch out your design on the pumpkin. If you’re a novice, start with straight lines and rectangular shapes.
7. Let The Carving Commence
Start by plunging the knife tip into the lines. If you have a complex design, work from the center outward, so that you don’t put extra pressure on sections you have already cut out.