It's getting close to Halloween, and families across the nation are slowly but surely decorating their Santa Cruz homes. The spirit of the season is in the air, the leaves are changing colors, and pumpkins are going up for sale.
It's time to carve!
• Make sure your pumpkin has a stem; it won't last very long if it doesn't.
• The pumpkin needs to have a flat bottom so it won't roll.
• No holes or soft spots, because they'll rot.
• Choose a light-colored pumpkin for easier carving, or a dark colored pumpkin for a longer lasting decoration.
On the steps of Santa Cruz homes everywhere, pumpkin faces sprout fangs and witches ride their brooms. Maybe you want your carvings to stand out, though. Here are a few things to look at when choosing a pattern:
• Keep in mind who'll be doing the carving. Smaller children generally have a harder time with detailed carvings.
• Carving patterns should be as large as the pumpkin you're working with.
• If your design is elaborate, draw it out on paper first. You can't erase a cut.
• Remember that you have to leave space between the cuts. The pumpkin has to stay together.
• Before carving, wash the pumpkin and let it dry.
• Use good carving tools - or a sharp knife and a small serrated knife - for the more elaborate designs (unless you want to carve a difficult design with a spoon tip)
• Start at the center of your design and work outwards.
• Use petroleum jelly on the cuts after you're done so the pumpkin will last longer.
Once you're done carving, you'll have a lot of left over pumpkin. Instead of throwing it in the trash, try roasting the pumpkin seeds for a great snack, or using the flesh for a delicious pumpkin pie.
Soon, children will be visiting Santa Cruz homes in mass, and with these tips on pumpkins, patterns and carving (and candy, of course), you can have them oohing and aahing with delight.