When I was a kid and I wanted to carve a pumpkin for Halloween, I’d go into the kitchen and get the sharpest and longest knife I could find. The whole time my mother would yell and fuss that I was going to cut my fingers off.
As carefully as I could I would gut the big orange gourd and pull all the gooey seeds out, scraping with a large spoon. My next step was to use a serrated steak knife with which to carve out the traditional three triangle shapes and a crooked arc for a mouth. It was tough work, and my arm ached and sometimes it didn’t look as perfect as I would have liked, but it was a traditional Jack-O-Lantern.
The days of makeshift tools in a dimly lit kitchen are now over for most. Little serrated saws in various sizes make carving pumpkins a much easier task, allowing for fancier and more intricate carvings. Fingers remain on where they belong; although much to mother’s surprise I do still have all ten.
The worst thing about carving a pumpkin is its longevity. You carve a great design or even a not so great one and the day after Halloween it has drooped several inches and the inside develops a funky black mold. So you set it out for the trash service.
These days I now get several pumpkins. I carve a unique design on one for lighting on Halloween and I usually paint one. One only needs a few acrylic paints and a little imagination. Anything goes from funny faces to fall motifs. There isn’t a more forgiving way to decorate a pumpkin. If you make a mistake before the paint has dried you can simply wipe it off with a wet cloth.
Feel free to use any of my ideas here or create some of your own. This year your pumpkin can last till Thanksgiving if the design is appropriate. My pumpkin is Scarecrow, what’s yours?