How to Carve a Pumpkin

    by eHow Contributor

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    Jolly jack-o'-lanterns are a traditional welcome for trick-or-treaters; an invitation to stop by for a Halloween surprise. It's also something you can make with the leftovers you cannot use for Halloween cooking. Just remember that carving a pumpkin takes more tenacity than skill.

    Things You'll Need

    • Votive Candles
    • Jack-o'-lanterns
    • Paring Knives
    • Cooking Oil
    • Felt-tip Pens
    • Pumpkins
    • Olive (not Virgin) Oil
    • Chef's Knives
    • Votive Candle holders
    • Pumpkin-carving Sets
    • Newspaper
    • Cinnamon
    • Pencils

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    Select a fresh pumpkin in a shape that pleases you. Some folks prefer their pumpkins low and round, while others like them tall and oval-shaped.

    Draw a circle or hexagon on top of the pumpkin in preparation for making an opening large enough for your hand to reach through.

    Cut through the stem end of the pumpkin along your outline with a sharp knife or pumpkin-carving tool. Use a back-and-forth slicing motion to cut through the thick, tough skin.

    Remove the stem end, which will act as a cap, making sure you scrape off any seeds or pulp.

    Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp from inside the pumpkin. Hold the spoon by its bowl to get extra leverage while scooping.

    Draw a pattern for the face on the clean pumpkin with a felt-tip pen, or scribe the lines into the skin using a pencil. Be sure to make the eyes, nose and mouth large enough; you'll have a hard time cutting out tiny features when you're using a big knife blade to saw through tough skin.

    Follow your pattern as you cut all the way through the pumpkin.

    Push the cut-out features gently from the inside of the pumpkin and discard the pieces.

    Place a votive candle inside the pumpkin to create an eerie glow.

    • Coat the cut edges with cooking oil to keep your jack-o'-lantern fresh longer.
    • Working with any sharp tools should always be done with adult supervision.
    • Avoid leaving burning candles unattended.