Throw a Pumpkin Carving Party
Don’t let Halloween sneak up on you, before you have had a chance to carve your own original creations, to show off on the night. Why not plan a pumpkin-carving party with friends or relatives, and be sure to give prizes for those artistic masterpieces.
Decorate the area to be used; indoors or out; with the usual Halloween decs, and prepare some appropiate music. Lay on some nibbles and soft drinks, maybe beer and wine, or even stronger alcohol; depending on the time of day and age of participants.
Lay out some tables and place several layers of newspaper over work surfaces.
Ask people to bring their own pumpkins, or supply them yourself; if you are supplying, then wash any dirty ones and dry with paper towels, and set them all out on the tables ready for your guests.
Cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin using a small kitchen knife: The hole should be large enough for you to put your whole hand inside to scrape out contents, but not so large that it takes the whole top off. Cut the top piece at an angle pointing inward, so that the edges remain wide enough to not fall inside the pumpkin.
Use a large spoon (and knife, if necessary) to remove strings from the top piece, and cut it so that the bottom is clean; Set this piece aside.
Remove the stringy insides and seeds of the pumpkin with your hands, then using a large spoon, scrape the insides clean.
Decide which side of the pumpkin you want to carve: If you are using a stencil for the face, tape the stencil to the pumpkin and mark where the cuts should go, with a small knife. If making a simple face; draw it directly on with a pencil.
Cut the design or face into the pumpkin with a knife: Make the holes the same size on the inside as they are on outside, to allow ample light to shine through. Discard cut-out pieces; any juicy flesh can be saved to make soup, and pumpkin seeds can be roasted and eaten, too.
Put a votive candle inside your pumpkin and light it: You may need to light the votive first and carefully place it in the pumpkin; then replace the top. For even more light, add extra votives, or larger candles.
Small children can decorate pumpkins with paint or stickers; they should not be handling sharp knives or matches.
Do not leave pumpkins containing lighted candles unattended.