When you think Halloween, three things probably come to mind — costumes, candy, and of course, carving pumpkins. Jack-o-lanterns are a super fun way to decorate your home and welcome trick-or-treaters to your doorstep on Halloween night, but carving one can be intimidating if you've never done it before. Luckily, there are some pretty amazing pumpkin carving hacks from YouTube that can turn you into a pumpkin pro.
Most of these hacks make use of things you've probably already got lying around your house, so there's not much extra expense involved. You'll want to make sure you choose the perfect pumpkin for the job, however. The Spruce noted that you should go for one without any soft spots or nicks, because otherwise it'll end up rotting fast. A nice round pumpkin with a flat bottom will be easier to carve and display. The color can be important, too, and not just for aesthetic purposes. A darker shade indicates a pumpkin is ripe for picking, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Once you've got the perfect pumpkin, an amazing carved jack-o-lantern is just few YouTube clips away.
Here are 10 carving hacks that will totally up your pumpkin game this year.
1. A Perfect Lid
It may seem super basic, but if you mess up your lid, your whole pumpkin could be ruined. Expert Village's Vincent Laporta reminds carvers to saw a little notch into the backside of the lid, so that the lid will always line up perfectly when you put it back on. And don't forget to carve at an angle instead of straight down, or else your lid will fall right through your pumpkin.
2. Use A Hand Mixer
Scooping out pumpkin guts can be both time consuming and gag inducing. YouTube's Rupoti channel has a brilliant hack to speed up the process — using a hand mixer.
3. Bust Out The Drill
Hacking away at a pumpkin with a kitchen knife isn't easy, especially if you're going for an intricate design. Rosanna Pansino suggested using a drill to speed up the work and smooth down edges.
4. Make Your Own Carving Tool
Super intricate designs require you to shave the skin off the pumpkin, rather than carving through it. Instead of spending money on a special carving kit, Katie Campshure used a bobby pin attached to a pencil to make a cheap, safe tool.
5. Start Small
If you have an awesome pattern in mind for your pumpkin, but aren't sure your carving skills are up for the job, just remember to take it slow. Paisley Pointers pointed out that you can always make your pieces smaller at first, then fine tune them. If you start with bigger pieces, you risk accidentally breaking off chunks.
6. Try A Printed Template
Carving a pumpkin freehand isn't easy, but luckily it's not your only option. WesTex Printing demonstrated how to print a design and use it as a template to show you where to carve and shave.
7. Cookie Cutter Carving
GoodGoodDIY showed how it's possible to use a cookie cutter to turn your pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern. This might be a safer option for kids than using a knife, though of course, you'll still have to watch that hammer.
8. Bare Your Fangs
Giving your pumpkin a toothy grin (or grimace) is a lot easier than it looks. DaveHax suggested carving teeth from the piece that you cut out for the mouth, and then fixing them to the pumpkin with the help of toothpicks.
9. The Toothpick Fix
If you accidentally take out a chunk of pumpkin that you didn't mean to, don't assume that the whole thing has to go in the trash. Crafts With Ellen pointed out that you can stick it back in place with the aid of a toothpick or two, saving you another trip to the pumpkin patch.
10. Preserve Your Pumpkin
Jack-o-lanterns may look super festive around Halloween, but the rotting pumpkin scent is definitely a party pooper. Stephie Dee Creates recommended preserving your pumpkin by rubbing it down with vaseline, vegetable oil, or even using silica packets (the kind that come with shoes).