close up of orange jack o lantern

How to make the perfect jack-o-lantern 

We just can’t stop talking about fun fall activities because it seems like they are never-ending. Pumpkin picking seems to be the most popular fall activity, but why do we pick pumpkins? To carve them, of course! Carving pumpkins is a lot of fun but it gets to be a super messy activity. Keep reading to get a few of our tips on making your next jack-o-lantern. 

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Steps to carving a pumpkin 

What you will need: 

jack o lantern face with triangle eyes

  • Pumpkin 
  • Medium-sized spoon 
  • Medium-sized knife 
  • Small knife 
  • Newspaper or small tarp 
  • Medium-sized bowl 
  • Candle and lighter or match 
  • Dry-erase marker (optional) 

Step 1: Preparation 

Get all of your newspaper or tarp laid out on the floor or table. It’s probably best to do this on a linoleum or concrete floor. Really, just anything that’s not carpet. It will be easier to clean up. 

Step 2: Cut out the stem 

Using your medium-sized knife, cut a hole right around the pumpkin’s stem. The knife should be at about a 45-degree angle towards the center of the pumpkin and the hole should be large enough for your hand to fit. If the angle isn’t correct, the stem will fall into the pumpkin. Also, save the stem. 

Step 3: Scoop out the guts 

This is when the most squeamish of us will want someone else to help. There’s nothing inherently gross about the inside of a pumpkin, but the texture can cause some nausea. Get all of the seeds and goo out by using the medium-sized spoon. Scoop it into your bowl and discard. 

Step 4: Carve 

This is where you can opt to use the marker. It isn’t totally necessary but it would be a nice guide. Sketch the face or design you want to carve. A small knife is best for maneuvering. If you have an intricate design, try using a smaller knife that is specifically made for carving pumpkins. Wipe away any remaining marker left on the pumpkin’s surface. 

Step 5: Light and display 

Place a small candle inside and use an elongated lighter to light it. Replace the pumpkin stem and place your newly-created jack-o-lantern outside for the neighborhood to see! Just remember to keep it far enough away from your home for it’s not a fire hazard. Have a happy Halloween and fall season! 

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