Pumpkin carving is a favorite Halloween tradition. Kids as well as adults enjoy using one’s imagination to come up with fun ideas for carving pumpkins. Carving pumpkins is a great family activity.
Purchasing pumpkin carving tools from a craft supply store is well worth the investment. These tools are actually relatively inexpensive and do help with the carving process. I have found them to be easier to use than knives and a little safer for children. The tool set usually includes a serrated tool that resembles a knife only it is smaller and more rounded, a plastic scoop, and sometimes little tools to scrape away just the outer peel of the pumpkin to achieve different affects.
First you will need to decide where to cut the hole in the pumpkin for your access area. You can always cut the top area which is traditional around the stem. Making an interesting design here can add some whimsy and then instead of replacing it exactly as it is cut, replace it turned slightly to give a neat glowing affect here after the candle is placed. Or, you can cut the hole in the back of the pumpkin so that no one will see it from the front. This way you can leave the top in tact.
I think the worst part of carving the pumpkin is removing the flesh. If you would like to be resourceful, you can save the flesh for a yummy pumpkin recipe, or put it in a compost pile, or just throw it away in the garbage. It is helpful to have a large piece of plastic covering your work surface for easier cleanup. The little plastic scoop that comes in the pumpkin carving tool kit is very helpful for this. If you plan to have areas on your pumpkin that you are just going to remove the outer skin for your design, then I would remove more flesh from behind that spot. The reason for this is to allow more light to shine through from the candle that will be lit inside your pumpkin. This is a really cool effect. Just try it and see.
Now you have your hallowed out pumpkin just waiting for a design. This is where the fun begins. How about making an animal out of your pumpkin? The picture of the pumpkin carving on this website is that of an owl using gourds and squash for the ears, beak, and feet. You can do the same for other animals and even use more than one pumpkin to make your animal. You could use a long skinny pumpkin to make a wiener dog, a big round pumpkin to make an elephant. You could make a haunted house and carve out the windows and door and have a ghost flying over the top of your haunted house. You can spell out words using several pumpkins lined up: Trick or Treat, or Happy Halloween. You would need to carve a letter in each pumpkin. This really looks cute on the porch. The ideas are endless.