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Pumpkin Carving With Local Pumpkins

a jack-o-lantern face drawn on a piece of paper is semi covered with shavings from a pumpkin
It’s pumpkin carving season!

October brings many special events to our lives, such as corn mazes, harvest festivals, Halloween, and of course, pumpkin carving. Making your own Jack O’Lantern is a traditional October past time that is fun for the whole family and can really up your Halloween decor. With Halloween on the horizon, we went and got our own gourds and compiled a few tips and tricks on carving to make our own for this year. Read on for recommendations on where to pick up your own pumpkins locally and to see which tips we liked best!

three pumpkins sitting on a table waiting to be carved
We got these three from Tenney Farms!

We started by snagging our pumpkins from Tenney Farms in Antrim, which was a haven of all sorts of local fall decorations and produce. After weighing our pumpkins on their antique scale, we headed home. For some other places to get your pumpkins, check out this blog post from last year!

the bottom of a pumpkin is cut and being removed with stringy seeds
Cutting from the bottom will help remove seeds a lot easier.

While most of us normally think to cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin, pro carvers recommend you cut the bottom out instead. It helps get a lot of the insides of the pumpkin out, saving you the hassle of doing it all! I think this may be our new favorite way of cleaning out a pumpkin.

A large pumpkin is being hollowed out with a spoon
Scraping down the sides thoroughly is the first step before you start to carve!

Carving down the insides of the pumpkin is another suggested tip from the pros, so here we used a big metal spoon to scrape out the inner walls of our gourd. This helps make it easier for carving, especially intricate designs.

Someone begins to sketch out a design for their pumpkin on a piece of paper
If your pumpkin is too big for an entire piece of paper, draw each part on its own sheet!

Picking out a design for your pumpkin can be a lot of pressure, so drawing it out before you put it on the pumpkin itself will help you visualize what you want to do. If you have little ones carving along with you, we suggest drawing out different eyes, mouths, and noses for them to pick from to help!

Person carving uses a potato peeler to make round eyes in a tiny pumpkin
Be creative with your tools – you’ll be surprised how well things work!

We didn’t have a pumpkin carving kit, so we opted to use some household kitchen utensils. Paring knives, clay tools, awls and even woodcarving tools can also be used! Being creative with your tools will help you have fun with your creations. This potato peeler made the best eyes!

four pumpkins of varying size sit on a step with faces carved into them
The finished products!

Here’s our finished products using the tips we listed above.  For one more tip, it’s recommended to put your finished carvings in the fridge if you don’t want them to start spoiling too quickly.

A pumpkin is being held by the carver as they use the potato peeler to round out the edges of the mouth. On the table a pile of pumpkin guts sits.
The potato peeler was also helpful for cleaning up jagged cut lines.

If you’d like to see more tips, you can check out these sites here, here, and here to see where we got ours from as well as some we might not have covered in our post. Did you carve your own pumpkin after reading this? We’d love to see your finished Jack O’Lanterns on our Facebook!

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