October’s here, and that means fall is in full swing—from fallen leaves and festive decorations, to pumpkin spice lattes and homemade pumpkin pie, you’re reminded of the autumn season everywhere you go. Nothing says fall is here like a home-carved jack-o-lantern, and carving pumpkins is an all-time favorite autumn activity for many of us. Pack the family into the car and head out to your favorite pumpkin patch to pick out the one that’s perfect for you, but before you’re ready to start carving, read over these pumpkin carving tips to keep everyone safe!
There’s nothing worse than spending hours carving a beautiful pumpkin, just to see it deteriorate into a mushy, rotten blob in a week. With just a few regular household ingredients, you can extend your jack-o-lantern’s lifetime; this will not only keep it looking great, but will also keep wild (and potentially harmful) animals from sniffing around near your front door. After you’ve carved the pumpkin, fill a bucket or other large container with a mixture of 1tsp of bleach to every 1gal of water. Completely submerge the pumpkin in the container for about 8 hours. When you remove the pumpkin from the container, flip the pumpkin and leave it upside down on a towel so that it can completely drain out/dry. The bleach will help kill any bacteria that’s in/on the pumpkin, which will slow down its decomposition time. When the pumpkin is dry, combine 2tbsp of vinegar and 1tsp of lemon juice with a quart of water, and brush that concoction onto the surface of the pumpkin (you can use it on the pumpkin’s inside and outside), and refresh the coating regularly—it’ll keep your pumpkin looking fresh for several weeks!
Have the Right Tools for the Job
Many people think they need to use super sharp knives to carve their pumpkins—FALSE! Pumpkin carving kits, which are available at many retail and convenience stores around this time, are not particularly sharp. These kits are very effective at sawing/poking through pumpkin flesh, and scooping out everything inside the pumpkin. The specially designed tools are also smaller than typical knives, which makes manipulating them easier than trying to use a kitchen knife to carve out intricate details or curved lines.
Prepare Your Space before You Start
We know that jack-o-lanterns look best in the dark, but that doesn’t mean you should be carving them there! Make sure your work area is well-lit, so that you’re able to see what you’re doing and don’t put yourself at an unnecessary risk. Additionally, think about how slimy pumpkin guts are; it’s very easy to slip when you have pumpkin innards on your hands/tools, which is an easy way to get injured! Have plenty of paper towels/napkins/towels/etc. nearby so that you can make sure that your hands, tools, and work area stay clean and dry throughout your carving experience.
Keep Little Fingers from Getting Hurt
Studies have found that most Halloween accidents pertaining to pumpkin carving happen to kids between 10 and 14, so keep the little hands off the tools. One of our pumpkin carving tips to keep the kids safe–while still involved–is to have them draw their designs onto the pumpkin, and then having an adult do the actual carving. You can let the kids use a permanent marker to draw their patterns onto their pumpkins, or use pencils, which will allow them to lightly carve into the pumpkins (making them feel like they’re doing more of the work). Don’t forget that teenagers are still kids too, no matter how grown up they may seem at times, so make sure you supervise their cutting as well to make sure everybody stays safe. Also remember that many pumpkin carving accidents occur because the carver put their hands inside the pumpkin, and then carved through (and into) his hand. A trick to avoid this is to carve your pumpkin BEFORE taking the top off, to avoid any accidents.
What to Do if You Do Get Hurt
If you do wind up cutting yourself while carving your pumpkins, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth, and a minor cut should stop bleeding shortly on its own. If you still haven’t stopped bleeding after 15 minutes of continuous pressure, you may need to seek emergency medical attention.
At IQO, we care about your health and safety, so make sure you’re taking every precaution to avoid injuries this fall! We hope our pumpkin carving tips have been helpful! Have a great time carving your pumpkins, and share photos of your creations with us on Facebook and Twitter!