It’s that time of year again! Trick or treaters decked out in their scariest garb, legions of black cats wandering the streets and a candlelit jack o’ lantern in the front window of every home. If you want to be crowned as ‘Best pumpkin carver of [insert street name] 2014’, then you’ve come to the right place. You can even download our free templates to print off and use to create your perfect pumpkin.
1. Pick your pumpkin
Pick a decent-sized, well-rounded specimen. Make sure it has a flat bottom otherwise it’ll roll, causing a candle wax catastrophe. Also try to choose one with a long and sturdy stem, so it’s easy to take the lid off.
2. Cut your lid
Slice off the top with a good knife, making sure you the hole is big enough to scoop out the flesh easily. You can actually buy specialist pumpkin-carving knives, but in general I find a serrated blade tends to work really well. Top tip! Cutting off the lid at an angle means the lid is less likely to fall into the hole.
3. Take out the insides
Get scooping! Grab a dessert spoon or ice cream scoop to dig out the sticky flesh and seeds. If you’re a whizz in the kitchen you could save them to one side and bake a pumpkin pie.
4. Draw your design
Now it’s time to get creative. You can freestyle it and try your luck with a marker pen, or you can download our pumpkin templates. There are three levels of difficulty so any one can give them a try. Go on, it’s free! Print off the template of your choice, cut out the black parts with scissors and tape the design to your pumpkin. The black parts you cut out are what will form the design.
5. A cut above
Again, it’s best to use a sharp, serrated blade to cut the pumpkin design. Saw in short, back and forth movements. Top tip! Rub some Vaseline on exposed parts of your pumpkin to stop it from turning brown.
6. Let there be light
Now for the pièce de résistance, light it up. Tea lights, fairy lights and battery operated candles all work well. Just made sure you don’t place the lid on completely, so that smoke can escape.