How-To Carve a Pumpkin
  1. Select a fresh pumpkin in a shape that pleases you. Some folks prefer their pumpkins low and round, while some like them tall and oval-shaped.
  2. Cut around the stem end of the pumpkin with a sharp knife. Use a back-and-forth slicing motion to cut through the thick, tough skin.
  3. Make an opening large enough to get your hand inside.
  4. Remove the stem end to create a cap, making sure you scrape off any seeds or pulp.
  5. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from inside the pumpkin, using a large spoon. Hold the spoon by its bowl to get extra leverage while scooping.
  6. Draw a pattern for the face on the clean pumpkin with a felt-tip pen, or scribe the features into the flesh using a pencil. Be sure to make the eyes, nose and mouth large enough to get the knife blade through the tough skin.
  7. Follow your pattern to cut out the features of the pumpkin.
  8. Cut all the way through the skin and rind of the pumpkin.
  9. Push the cut-out features gently with your fingers and discard the pieces.
  10. Place a votive candle inside the pumpkin to create an eerie glow through the eye sockets.
*If you are new to pumpkin carving, remember that straight lines are easier to cut than curved lines.
*Make a 1-inch notch in the cap so that the candle has enough oxygen to burn inside the pumpkin.
*Clean up any ragged edges after you have finished with the initial carving. A small, sharp knife works well for this step. Line the cut edges with cooking oil to keep your jack-o'-lantern fresh for a longer time.
*The pumpkin seeds can be dried out and salted for a tasty snack.
*Rub cinnamon into the pumpkin lid to create a pleasant aroma while the candle burns.
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