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It's Halloween! How to Carve a Pumpkin Rugby

Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without the traditional Jack o’Lantern casting his creepy light outside for all to see. And whether you’re doing it from scratch or using stencils, it’s a great Halloween activity for you and your child.

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It's Halloween! How to Carve a Pumpkin

Supernanny Team Logo By  Supernanny Team 16/10/2007

Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without the traditional Jack o’Lantern casting his creepy light outside for all to see. And whether you’re doing it from scratch or using stencils, it’s a great Halloween activity for you and your child…

Tools of the trade....

• Thin-bladed knife or commercial pumpkin carving tools (these are the safest option if your child is helping you).

• Large spoon or ice cream scoop.

• Newspaper.

1 Find the perfect pumpkin

pumpkinIf you’re planning to position your Jack O’Lantern outside to light the way for trick-or-treaters, choose a large, just-ripe pumpkin with a smooth, even surface for easier carving, and a flat base so it will sit firmly where it’s placed. If you’re planning to light your lantern with a candle it needs to be fairly tall. Smaller pumpkins work well as small lanterns placed either side of your driveway or positioned in clusters around your porch. Avoid bruised, scratched or dented pumpkins with broken stems since these are probably already starting to deteriorate. Don’t plan to carve your Jack O’Lantern too soon as it will start to rot – a day or two before Halloween is best.

2 Carving freehand

Place your pumpkin on the newspaper and cut a hole in the top of it, carving a few inches out from the stem – the hole needs to be large enough so you can reach in to scoop out the flesh and seeds. The cut-out piece will form the lid of your Jack O’Lantern, so angle the knife so the edges of the lid are sloped – this will help prevent it from falling inside when you place it back on. If your pumpkin doesn’t feel very stable, you can opt to carve your hole in the back for easier access to your candle, or in the bottom so you can simply place the lantern over the light source.

Use a crayon or water-based marker (so you can erase any mistakes!) to draw your Jack O’Lantern’s face onto the smoothest, most even side of the pumpkin – if one of the sides seems thinner, carve here – it’ll be easier, and your light source will show through better. If your pumpkin has any ‘features’ such as gouges or a particularly curly stem, see if you can work those into your design. Cut along the lines, working from the center out, and push the pieces through into the pumpkin to create your Jack O’Lantern’s face. If you cut off any chunks you didn’t intend to remove, use a toothpick to anchor them back in place.

Pumpkin decorating with paint or markers is fun for kids too, and a great way to use smaller pumpkins that aren’t large enough to make Jack O’Lanterns

3 Using a stencil

Carving kits often include stencils; alternately you can download a stencil from the web or design your own. Either copy the design freehand onto the pumpkin or tape the template to it and use the knife (or the plastic awl that came with your carving kit) to score through the template, thereby transferring the design to the pumpkin.

4 Lighting your Jack O’Lantern

Scrape the flesh out as evenly as you can fr...

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