One of my fondest childhood memories involving Halloween is picking out a pumpkin and carving it to make a Jack O’ Lantern. I passed the tradition down when I had my own family, and you can too. Teach your own kids how to carve a Halloween pumpkin by following the instructions in this article.
It just wouldn’t be Halloween without seeing plenty of round, orange pumpkins lit up and setting on decks, porches, and on sidewalks. Your kids are sure to get a kick out of carving their own pumpkin and placing it outside for the world to see.
If your kids are too small to handle a knife safely, they can still help out in other ways to carve their own Halloween pumpkin.
The first thing to do, after your kids have chosen a nice, large pumpkin, is to help your kids decide on what kind of face their Halloween ornament is going to have. They can decide on a happy face, an evil-looking face, or even a goofy face that will make people laugh!
An easy way for kids to carve a Halloween pumpkin is to use an ink pen to outline the face of their pumpkin first. It’s easier to cut on lines than try to free hand their design with a knife.
Next, place a thick layer of old newspaper on a work surface. Place the pumpkin on top of the newspaper. Then, use a long, serrated knife to cut out a circle around the stem of the pumpkin on its top. The circle will need to be just large enough so your kids can get a hand inside it. Be sure that you or your kids cut the circle out at the top of the pumpkin at an angle. That means, you need to cut the rind so that it’s larger than the flesh on the inside. This will keep the lid from shrinking and falling inside the pumpkin.
You or your kids will have to press down kind of hard with the serrated knife so it cuts all the way through the thick Halloween pumpkin rind.
Now, have your kids reach inside the pumpkin and remove the flesh, membrane, and the seeds with their hand. Once most of the inside of the shell is cleaned out, use a large spoon to scrape out any remaining stuff. The inside will need to be as clean as possible.
Don’t forget to clean off the inside of the lid too! If you’re going to light up the finished Halloween Jack O’Lantern with a candle, you or your kids will need to cut some small vent holes in the top so the heat can escape. Two or three small holes should do the trick. Just be careful not to break the top while you’re cutting the vent holes.
The next step is to use the serrated knife to cut out the face on the pumpkin. After you or your kids have completely cut around a feature of the face, you can carefully push the piece out through the shell. Repeat this process until the face of the Jack O’Lantern is complete.
And finally, place a candle- a flat-bottomed votive works well- or a small electrical light inside the middle of the pumpkin shell. Now, the kids’ Halloween pumpkin is ready to display! Enjoy!
To clean up, simply lift up the four corners of the thick layer of newspaper so the pumpkin mess stays inside. Then, crumple the paper together and toss the newspaper away in the trash.
Note: Traditionally, small candles are used to light up Jack O’Lanterns. However, the candles have to be monitored. That, and even the slightest of breeze can put them out. Using a battery-operated candle, or a small electrical light has its advantages. These type of lights are safer to use, they can’t be blown out by the wind, and your kids can’t get burned like they can with a candle.