The fall weather has been a pleasant surprise lately, but winter will soon be upon us! Hope it will hold out for a great Halloween night for kids and adults alike. Read on for some tips on carving your pumpkin like an expert and staying safe on Halloween night.
Carving a pumpkin is easy, according to Tom Nardone of Extreme Pumpkins. Although many of the methods he uses apply to anyone, he gives a few suggestions, shortcuts and tricks on carving the perfect pumpkin.
Here are Tom’s Top 8 Pumpkin Carving Tips:
1. Choose the right pumpkin. I like them taller than they are wide because that is the shape of a face. I also like them big and ugly because that makes them look interesting.
2. Decapitation or Back Surgery?: You don’t have to take off the top, you can also take of the bottom or the back,. I cut off the bottom if I want the top to look untouched and I cut off the back if I want to use the entire front, top, and bottom for a design. Regardless, you do want to get in there and remove the seeds, if you don’t the squirrels will.
3. Cutting the Plug: Decapitating is the toughest thing to do, the top of the pumpkin is woody and tough. You need a strong blade. I use a drywall saw for this. They don’t cost much, about $6 and they are hard to match. If I didn’t have one, I’d use a filet knife and I’d be cautious. Cut the plug to be a cone-shape with a little jog in it, so that it comes out easily and fits back easily too.
4. Scoop the goop: I use my ice cream scoop. Not only that, but I’ve gotten my arm dirty enough times to have developed a way to stay fairly clean. Scrape around the sides, starting from the hole opening to the bottom. Then, after all of the walls are scraped, dump the pumpkin into the trash. Easy!
5. Draw the face: I use dry erase markers because if you don’t like your work, you can erase it! Also, after you are done, your pumpkin won’t end up with an accidental layer of guy-liner that screams “sloppy”.
6. I’m really lazy, so I use power tools to carve my pumpkins. Sure, a kit from the store will do the trick, but I want it done quickly. Mostly I use my jigsaw to remove chunks (like eyes and the mouth) and then a rotary tool to carve away the skin. For big areas I’m not afraid to break out an angle grinder. It removes the pumpkin skin and can even be used to shape the pumpkin.
7. Great Props Are Everywhere. I look for fun props everywhere, but my favorite places are the grocery store, home depot, and the craft store. I like to use twizzlers for dreadlocks, wood chips for teeth, taffy for tongues, home insulation for brains, all sorts of things. I’ve become the best pumpkin carver on the block by using some really cheap gags and you can too.
8. Preserving Your Pumpkin: Pumpkins rot. But yours doesn’t have to rot as quickly. When my pumpkin is done, I spray it with bathroom cleaner with bleach. This keeps the bugs, mold, and animals away.
Now to find the perfect place to show off your creation! Enjoy!
…from our Fire Department
BEFORE HALLOWEEN NIGHT
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglemnent or contact with flame.
- Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick or treat bags for greater visibility.
- Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire.
- Because a mask can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup or a decorative hat as a safe alternative.
- Plan ahead to use only battery powered lanterns or chemical lightsticks in place of candles in decorations and costumes.
- This is also a great time to buy fresh batteries for your home smoke alarm.
- Teach children their home phone number and how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost. Remind them that 9-1-1 can be dialed free from any phone.
- Review with your children the principle of “Stop-Drop-Roll” should their clothes catch fire.
- Take extra time to eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Check around your property for flower pots, low tree limbs, support wires or garden hoses that may prove hazardous to young children rushing from house to house.
BEFORE NIGHTFALL ON HALLOWEEN
- A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
- Consider safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects, and do not block exterior doors. To light up your path or sidewalk, why not take some empty plastic bottles, paint on a face and throw in a glow stick? Safe and easy!
- While children can help with the fun of designing a Jack O’ Lantern, leave the carving to adults.
- Always keep Jack O’Lanterns and hot electrical lamps away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children or pets will be standing or walking.
- Plan and review with your children the route and behaviour which is acceptable to you.
- Do not permit children to bicycle, roller blade or skateboard.
- Agree on a specific time when revelers must return home.
- Confine, segregate or otherwise prepare the household pets for an evening of frightful sights and sounds. Be sure that all dogs and cats are wearing collars and proper identification tags.
- Remind all household drivers to remain cautious and drive slowly throughout the community.
- Adult party-goers should establish and reward a designated driver.