These are all the tools you need to carve a pumpkin like a pro.
It’s October, and you know what that means, right? Halloween is almost here! While you may not be able to trick-or-treat, and you may not feel totally comfortable dressing up anymore, there’s still one tradition you can enjoy, no matter how old you are: making jack-o-lanterns! If you’re wondering about the latest and greatest in jack-o-lantern gadgetry, I’m here to help you with a guide to all the gear you’ll need to turn your pumpkin into one ghoulish gourd!
The Evolution of Pumpkin Carving
When I was younger, carving a pumpkin required four things: 1) a pumpkin (duh); 2) a steak knife; 3) a spoon (for scooping!); and 4) a candle. Since then, a lot has changed. Why? Because people started taking their pumpkin carving really seriously.
Gone are the days when three triangles and a mouth were all that was required. These days, jack-o-lanterns are works of art. And, as any good artist will tell you, your tools matter! Additionally, safety has become more of a concern, and a lot of the tools out there are designed to be safer on skin and fingers than a regular old kitchen knife. Disclaimer: While safer, some products are not suitable for children without supervision, or at all. Please use your discretion.
Related Reading: The Best of Pumpkins: Why They’re The Ultimate Fall Fruit
Tools of the Trade
When I visited a pumpkin farm I happened upon a wall full of pumpkin carving equipment. I was stunned. So. Many. Tools. Apparently, my carving has been amateur hour, over here, ‘cause nowadays there are instruments and methods I’d never heard of. In case you’re super interested in taking your carving game to the next level, I thought I’d run down some innovations I’ve discovered.
If you’re looking to elevate your pumpkin-carving game, the first thing you should check out is a pumpkin carving kit. Put the steak knife and spoon away. It’s time you had real implements for your craftsmanship.Buy Now
If you already have a kit, but need more than the starter package, you’re gonna need to upgrade your gear. Anyone who’s anyone knows that the first step in making your jack-o-lantern is cutting it open, and getting all the goop out. While carving a design can be a precision enterprise, hacking off the hood is more of a power move. As a result, you need a knife like this one from Keyfit that’s both safe, and up to the challenge.Buy Now
The most annoying part of the pumpkin carving process is scoopin’ the goop. That sounds like a Pauly Shore line, doesn’t it? Scoop the goop, bud, scoop the goop. Yeah, I referenced Pauly Shore. I’m not ashamed of it, either. Anyway, scooping pumpkin goop is a real drag. In my day (in the oldest old-man voice possible), we used the adult-sized kitchen spoon to help us. Now, you have options. Looking for a perfectly adequate option? Try this one. If you’re wanting to Tim-The-Tool-Man-Taylor things, The Pumpkin Gutter attaches to most drills (did you say power tools?) and lets you get down to business with some p-p-p-power. Speaking of power…Buy Now
You read that title correctly. They now make power saws for pumpkin carving. I guess that makes sense. Sometimes, depending on how intricate a pattern you’re hoping to carve, your fingers don’t have the endurance needed to get the job done. If that’s the case, this power saw might help.Buy Now
Have you ever seen a pumpkin that was a little too good, and wondered, “Just how in the heck did they carve that thing?” Well, sometimes the answer is that the carver is a really talented artist. But if you know the carver was your cousin, Fred, who’d just as soon stick crayons up his nose than draw something magnificent with them, chances are he used a stencil. Hold on. It sounds like Fred shouldn’t be allowed to carve pumpkins without supervision. Who’s watching Fred?! For some spooky realistic ones, this book has you covered. Yikes!Buy Now
If you liked the look of those spooky, realistic stencils, then you’ll likely need some tools that will help you carve the surface of the pumpkin without cutting holes all the way through. This creates a translucent appearance. The pumpkin glows. Surface scraping tools give you the control you need to allow you to create a bit more contour and definition without making a full cut.Buy Now
Everyone knows that a jack-o-lantern needs light to come to life. When I was younger, we just used tea candles. But they burn out, or blow out, or won’t light when it’s a little wet. And you know what they call a burned out jack-o-lantern? A disgrace. So, to keep yourself from a load of embarrassment on All Hallows Eve, spring for a fancy-pants electronic light set like this remote-controlled pair of flameless candles.Buy Now
Are you tired of needing to carve teeth into your pumpkin, only to have them look bogus, or average, or non-intimidating? Pfff. Worry no more! Now, you can buy pop-in pumpkin teeth to take your jack-o-lantern from ho hum to horrifying!Buy Now
Are you sick of the mess that carving pumpkins brings, but still want to be festive? Don’t fret. A simple, fun solution is this sticker set which will allow you to decorate up to nine different pumpkins. Buy Now
Is your favorite part of carving pumpkins roasting the seeds? If so, there are pumpkin carving kits designed with you in mind. This kit gives you everything you need to design your jack-o-lantern and then roast your seeds. Not bad. Not bad at all.Buy Now
If this is the year you decide to take carving to the next level, hopefully I’ve helped give you a head start on some of the gadgets and gear that can help. As always, whenever carving or working with tools that can carve, be careful, and make sure safety comes first. With that said, have fun this Halloween! And check out some spooky Halloween wreaths to hang on your door and complement your jack-o-lantern.
See all the best of pumpkins on Chowhound.
Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.