Happy Halloween! Fall is my favorite season, and one of my favorite things about fall is the glorious pumpkin. Pumpkin makes just about anything better in my opinion.
When I’m not ingesting pumpkin-flavored goodness, I like to carve them. Ryan and I carved pumpkins together 5 years ago on one of our first dates. Mine was your standard Jack O’Lantern and his was an extremely intricate and accurate helmet from Halo.
Since then, we’ve made it a tradition to carve them together each year, and I’ve gotten much better at it – so I decided to tackle a more ambitious design: The Ron Swanson Jack O’Lantern. I even got to use the pumpkin that spontaneously grew in our back yard, and oddly I think he’d approve.
Here’s what I used:
A print-out pattern (I used a photo I found online)
Masking tape or Painter’s tape
A very small serrated knife (we bought a pumpkin-carving kit a couple of years ago but you could use a kitchen knife or even a small file)
A scoop (again, we have one from the kit – well worth the cost for the number of times we’ve used it now – but you could use a large spoon)
A pick, fork or toothpick (something small and sharp to poke holes)
A pumpkin (of course)
Rinse and dry your pumpkin to remove any dirt.
Use the small serrated knife to slowly saw a hole out of the top of the pumpkin. Make the hole big enough for your fist plus some wiggle room, and angle the knife towards the middle of the pumpkin so that the lid doesn’t fall through when you put it back on. The serrated knife and sawing motion are key here – much easier and safer than just hacking at it with a large straight blade.
Scoop all of the seeds and guts out and save the seeds for roasting!
Rinse and dry again (if needed).
Tape your pattern to the pumpkin and slowly poke holes to create an outline of your shape. Keep in mind that you can’t have any floating pieces and the simpler you can make it the better. There are lots of patterns available online, so if you’ve never done this before try a pre-made one to start.
Once all of your holes have been poked, remove the paper and tape and use your small knife to slowly saw along the dotted lines. Take your time and keep your pattern close by to check yourself if you have trouble seeing your lines.
When you are done, you may want to use your scoop to clean up the inside a bit and wipe the outside with a damp paper towel.
Add a candle (or LED candle) and you’re done!