How to Carve a Pumpkin in 30 Minutes.

Eek!  Halloween is this weekend!  And if you've waited to the last minute (like me) to either make some plans and/or make your home Halloween-ready, you've come to the right place.
So I'm going to give you a little tutorial of pumpkin carving today using standard items found in your kitchen.  Yes, there are fancy alternatives to pumpkin carving tools, but I always thought the ol' kitchen knife works best.  Also, Buggles the cat will be joining us today -- she's not only my pumpkin muse, but my regular crafting sidekick.

1.  Buy Your Pumpkin.  Quickest solution -- your neighborhood supermarket.  Choose one that is at least the size of a basketball (otherwise it gets kinda hard to carve).

2.  Gather your materials and clear a space to work.  I like to use my least expensive knife to work with -- sometimes the point will bend when cutting so try not to use your super duper ultra favorite knife in case something happens to it.  Also, you may want to lay down some newspaper first (I did not do this and wish I had afterward).
You'll need the following:
kitchen shears (not shown in the image below)
a medium-sized bowl
spoon (optional)

**Kiddies, please note, you should not attempt this project without adult supervision.
3.  With your pencil, draw a circle around the top of your pumpkin and then cut all the way around.

4.  Remove the "guts" of your pumpkin.  I think using your hand is the easiest, but a spoon could be helpful, too.  Place your guts aside in your bowl.  (Your pumpkin seeds can be saved and used in many different ways -- from baking to crafting.)
5.  Make your template.  I made a quick sketch of my cat and then shaded in the areas that I plan to cut out of the pumpkin.  For beginners, I would stick with a very simple design.  Too may curves and lines will drive you crazy and take too long.  But keep in mind that you can carve just about any design onto your pumpkin -- not just your traditional scary faces. :-}

6.  Draw your design onto your pumpkin using your pencil.  (Pencil works well because your excess lines will wipe right off with a damp towel.)
7.  Begin to cut!  I like to carve my shape and then push the piece into the pumpkin.  After the piece has been removed, you can always go back to fine-tune the shape.
8.  Polish off the edges.  After your shapes are all cut out, you may notice that the holes still have strands of pumpkin.
What you will want to do is cut the from the inside of the pumpkin -- either with your knife or kitchen shears.  Snip all the excess pumpkin away.
9.  Voila!  You're done.  Well, almost.  For the final touch, you will want to add a candle inside.  I recommend either a tea light in a glass votive or one of those LED/battery operated tea lights so your pumpkin is fire safe.
Happy Halloween!  I hope you have a super holiday!

Trick or Treat,