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Having good tools on hand will make pumpkin carving easy. Below is our recommended supplies plus some alternatives you could use in a pinch. If you don't want to invest in quality tools for the long haul (or are working with kids), one of those pumpkin carving kits from the pharmacy will work just fine.
     

Serrated Knife
The rough pumpkin skin needs to sawed as opposed to being cut so you will need a knife with teeth. We like the Van Vacter Pumpkin Knife, a sturdy serrated knife features a dual blade that is thick on the bottom for cutting large holes and a thin at the top for more precision and its plastic handle provides an excellent, non-slip grip. Available in specialty kitchen stores and on the Van Vacter website.

Precision Knife
Once the rough cuts are made you will want to fine tune your cuts. Use a precision knife with a long, thin, flexible blade which allows for maximum control. We like the X-Acto DIY Kit which includes a utility saw blade and the Bonsai Keyhole Saw. Be warned that both of these do not love moisture so clean and dry your knife immediately after use.

Pumpkin Gutter
This tool attaches to any cordless drill. Simply insert and run long the sides of the pumpkin. The membranes entwine along the spindle and the seeds detach. It can also be used to thin the walls of the pumpkin. It's available at craft stores, hardware store and online at www.getcarvingquicker.com.

 

     

Scoop
Once the majority of the guts are out of your pumpkin, you may need to clean up certain areas or further thin certain sections. Use a scoop like this one (found a Pumpkin Masters Carving Kit). Sized to fit in the palm of your hand, this can easily scrap the flesh of the pumpkin. You can also use a large spoon, but the long handle is a problem in medium and small pumpkins. There is also a Loop Tool used for clay modeling that works quite well.

Poker
If you are using a printed pattern, there are two ways to transfer the design. The first involves tracing the pattern with a poker to punch little holes along the pattern. You can use a variety of modeling tools like the straight needle above, or anything with a sharp tip from a toothpick, large nail, or even a dead ballpoint pen. Keep in mind, you will be punch a lot of holes, so something that's comfortable to hold for a long period of time is better.

Transfer Paper
To make pattern transfer easy and spare yourself carpal tunnel pain, try using Saral Wax-Free Transfer Paper. Found in many art and craft stores, this paper allows you to trace the pattern with a ballpoint pen directly onto a dry pumpkin. It's a bit pricey (about $10-12 a roll), but unlike poking holes, if you make a mistake, you can easily wipe off the markings.

 

     

Other Supplies
To apply the printed patterns onto the pumpkin use low-tact blue painters tape; have a selection of wooden toothpicks and skewers to mend any broken pieces or to secure stacked pumpkins; anticipate a mess and have a bowl, newspaper and a towel handy; and rub the exposed flesh with Vaseline to inhibit mold and retain the pumpkin's moisture.

Lighting
Candles are the traditional way to light pumpkins, but be careful where you use live flames. It better to use battery operated lights or glowsticks near sidewalks where kids or pets will be walking. Safety first!

Accessories
Decorating your pumpkin has never been easier. We love Pumpkin Teeth, plastic fangs you can stick directly into the pumpkin for a ghoulish grin. You can also carve patterns using sturdy cookie cutters, make holes with an apple corer, or etch designs onto the pumpkin skin using a V-notch tool.

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