One of our favorite fall activities is pumpkin carving. This year we thought it would be fun to both carve part of the same pumpkin. Though there were a few mishaps along the way, it was a lot of fun.
I think this was my most enjoyable pumpkin carving experience yet and I think I know why. For starters, my design (our logo) wasn’t too complicated with crazy precision cuts and detail (although Brad almost gave the boy a uni-leg). I’ve always wanted to carve one of those advanced portraits that require fancy pumpkin carving kits, but I’m not convinced I have the patience or time for that. On a side note, has anyone ever used one of those kits? Are they worth the investment?
Since I didn’t carve a very detailed design, I wasn’t sitting on our living room floor for hours on end, with my hips seizing and ready to snap. I decided to carve the girl part of the logo and Brad carved the boy, so it only took me about 15 minutes. Before we carved anything, Brad printed off a large version of the stick figures in our logo. Then I drew them onto the pumpkin with a marker as a basic guide. I had a lot of fun carving our pumpkin this year and I’m really happy to be displaying it on our front step.
If you’re new to pumpkin carving, here are a few tips to help you on your way:
- Carve a hole in the top that’s big enough to allow easy scooping out of the pumpkin guts. Don’t forget to cut on an angle so the top has something to sit on.
- Scoop out the guts with a spoon and roast the seeds if desired
- Draw on the pumpkin or use a template and punch the design onto your pumpkin with a tack or nail.
- Only make flesh wounds your first time around the design to avoid making too big of a gouge, then go back around to make deeper cuts.
- Instead of trying to push out one massive piece, if your design allows, cut the larger section up into smaller chunks to push through.
Pumpkin carving wasn’t really a tradition in our house growing up. I’m not sure why, but we just never really cared to do it every year. I think it’s safe to say it’s a tradition for Susan and I though, since we’ve carved a pumpkin every year since we got married.
Due to time constraints, we decided to do the initial gutting of the pumpkin and the carving on separate nights. This might not have been the best idea as our pumpkins are already beginning to go mushy on the bottom. Carving pumpkins doesn’t require much set up, just spread out some garbage bags or newspaper, grab a spoon and a few different size knives and you’re ready to go.
Those of you who have been reading Things To Do For Two for a while will remember in our post about the Cold Stone Creamery that I mentioned how I really don’t like it when my food gets mashed together. Well, I have another small “thing” (some people might call it an “issue”…) I need to confess to you. I really don’t like getting my hands dirty. I’ve been this way since I was little. I distinctly remember on the drive home from school one day as a kid, I looked over at the kid next to me who had food all over his fingers. He didn’t even care. He just sat there like it was no big deal. Even now just thinking about it gets me anxious. So you can imagine how much I love shoving my hand inside a freshly cut pumpkin and scooping out the seeds…
If you are looking for a design to carve into your pumpkin, try to stay away from anything with small round corners, or any other intricate details. Since we just carved our logo into one of our pumpkins, it was fairly easy. Susan carved the girl half and I carved the boy half. There was only one emergency in the process. On the very last part of the pumpkin to be carved, I was supposed to leave a thin piece to separate the legs of my half. Well, in trying to pull out a chunk of leg I almost snapped off that piece which would have resulted in a dude with an abnormally long torso. Thankfully we were able to salvage it and it actually turned out quite nice.
Other than having to shove my hand into a nasty pumpkin, the only other down side was that my wrist felt like it was going to snap by the end of the carving. I’m sure that’s not normal, so don’t worry about it when you carve yours.
I’m sure most of you have tried this before. But for anyone who hasn’t, it’s a lot of fun. Last year I carved the Batman symbol into my pumpkin, which I was quite proud of. If you have any pumpkin carving stories we would love to hear them. Also, if you want to send us pictures of your carved pumpkins we could make a gallery to share them with everyone. If you are still looking for ideas of what to carve, check out this website for lots of great ideas. By the way, we still have one pumpkin left to carve so if you have any requests please let us know.