Jack o’lanterns have long been part of Halloween tradition. Irish legend tells the story of a man who played tricks on the devil, until he was cursed to wander the Earth forever with nothing more than a burning coal in a hollowed-out turnip to light his way. Over the years, Irish and Scottish people would carve scary faces in turnips and potatoes to scare off this spirit, which graduated to giant pumpkin faces once immigrants from those countries hit the New World.
If you’re planning on carving a pumpkin this Halloween, use these tips to make sure you have an easy time, and that your creation lasts as long as possible.
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1) Carve from the bottom. That way you have the stem to hold onto and you can easily slip the pumpkin right over a candle or flashlight.
2) Hold the pumpkin in your lap to carve. You will have a much steadier pumpkin to cut.
3) Use a red dry erase marker to sketch your design. It erases easily and if you miss a spot, it blends in.
4) Use a hand mixer to clean out your pumpkin. This is so clean and fast, it’s the most valuable “hack” of the bunch.
5) Use cookie cutters and a rubber mallet to carve your design. Super simple eye holes!
6) Cover all cut surfaces with Vaseline to keep the pumpkin moist after carving. Pumpkins should last one to two weeks carved!
7) Sprinkle some cinnamon on the inside top of your pumpkin for festive pumpkin spice smell when a candle is lit inside the pumpkin.