Pumpkin carving guide:
Black = untouched pumpkin areas
Yellow = cut all the way through the pumpkin wall and remove
White = make a partial surface cut and remove top layer of rind flesh (do not cut all the way through the pumpkin wall) to create a glowing effect
Nerdy Pumpkin Carving Stencils:
To open, hold down 'Ctrl' (for PC or 'command' for Mac) then click 'Download File' to open the PDF in a separate browser tab for easy printing.
Totoro & Friends
Mad Molecular Scientist
Settlers of Catan
Shadow & Flame
(completely cut out all black areas)
Lurker in the Water
- When picking a pumpkin out, look for one with a nice green stem (not a dried up brown one). This indicates a fresher pumpkin. Also, the thicker the stem, the thicker the pumpkin's wall tends to be (i.e. lots of carving depth!).
- Have an idea of what you'd like to carve when choosing a pumpkin. This can help you choose a shape and size that's most appropriate -it doesn't have to be perfectly round!. Avoid pumpkins with black or soft spots; they indicate decomposition.
- Thoroughly clean out the innards of your pumpkin. Leaving any guts inside will lead to quicker rot.
- Don't be afraid to try different tools for carving and cutting. Various knives and saws can be better for different shapes, carving depths, and carving area sizes. Try metal bbq kabob skewers, clay carving utensils, or an x-acto knife to switch things up.
- Use an LED tea light, rather than a candle, to light your creation up. The heat from the candle can lead to rot sooner; preserve the life of your pumpkin.
- Avoid cutting the top stem off your pumpkin. The stem continues to feed the gourd with nutrients after being picked. Cutting off the lifeline will decrease the longevity of your pumpkin. Instead, cut a hole in the back of your pumpkin to clean it out. (yes, I know, I didn't follow this one, but I needed both sides of my pumpkin for illustration purposes ;-) ).
- Always exercise caution when working with sharp tools. Never cut towards yourself.
- Most importantly, just have fun!
How'd your pumpkin turn out?! Share a photo of it with me on Facebook or Twitter!
UPDATE: My Totoro template was a winner for the ThinkGeek 'Great Geeky Pumpkin Template Contest of 2014!'