Halloween Activities: Pumpkin Carving

A large part of the Halloween tradition which we've adopted from the USA is the buying and carving of a pumpkin. We've already looked at what you can cook with the filling of this giant vegetable, but what about what you can carve into it's thick skin to impress your kids, and to be honest, the neighbours?

The safest way, particularly if you have small children, to create your pumpkin is to allow your child the opportunity to draw the pattern they want on the pumpkin with a marker pen, which you can then cut out with a knife.

Pumpkin experts Pumpkincarving101.com recommend using a long thin bladed boning knife for cutting off the top and using a cutting saw and poking tool for the detailed element of the carving.

Fancy something a bit different for Halloween?

Top left: Darth Vader Pumpkin from Flickr user revjim5000

Top right: Nightmare before Christmas Pumpkin from Flickr user James Ellworth

Bottom left: Pirate Pumpkin from Flickr user jscatty

Bottom right: Forest Pumpkin from Flickr user mstresbabette

Don't feel that you have to stick to the traditional style though if you have an artistic side. There's plenty of inspiration to be found on Flickr as you can see above. I particularly like the Darth Vader one. You can choose from a variety of pumpkin stencils online to download for free, like these ones from Spookmasters, which can be printed and placed on the pumpkin to be carved.

You'll need tea lights to give your pumpkin a lantern effect, which you can buy cheaply from places like Pound land.

Do you have any pumpkin carving tips?