Pumpkins are some tough squash, and carving designs into their hard surface is no easy task. Plus, you have to clean out their guts (we suggest using an ice cream scooper for this part!). It’s a lot of work. So, we decided to research ways to make the whole pumpkin carving process easier. Here are some awesome jack-o-lantern hacks we’re excited to share, many of which extend beyond simple carving tips.
Use Cookie Cutters
Instead of using a knife to carve out your pumpkin, you can rely on cookie cutters and a mallet to create your dream jack-o-lantern. You’ll want to choose sturdy metal cookie cutters, not the plastic kind. The Dollar Store is a good place to go for Halloween-themed cookie cutters. You can also find them in kitchen and home goods stores. Here’s what to do: After you clean your pumpkin, firmly press a cookie cutter into the pumpkin skin. Take a mallet and tap the cookie cutter so that it pierces through the pumpkin, carving out your desired shape.
Bust Out the Drill
Here’s another on of our favorite jack-o-lantern hacks. No matter what size hole you want, using a knife to carve a circle in your pumpkin’s skin can be difficult (to say the least). Simplify the process by grabbing your drill and letting it do the dirty work. Depending on the size of the holes you want in your pumpkin, you can switch out your drill bits accordingly.
Use Petroleum Jelly
Once October arrives, we’re ready for all-things-Halloween. The problem is, if you carve a pumpkin too early, it’ll turn into a rotten mess by the time Halloween rolls around. You could wait a couple of weeks before creating a jack-o-lantern, but what’s the fun in that? If you want to start carving early, use petroleum jelly to help prolong your pumpkin’s life. By rubbing petroleum on the freshly carved edges, you’ll lock in the pumpkin’s natural moisture and extend your jack-o-lantern’s lifetime.
Spray with Bleach
Before carving into your pumpkin, do this: Create a bleach solution by mixing bleach and water together in a spray bottle (one part bleach to 10 parts water). Spray your pumpkin down with the solution, then get to carving. You can give your pumpkins a little touch-up with the spray bottle every day to help extend their preserve them even longer.
Swap String Lights
No jack-o-lantern is complete without a light to illuminate its center. Lit candles are the traditional method, but a similar look can be achieved with string lights. Dig out some clear Christmas lights a little or early, or buy a cheap box of string lights, and bunch them together before placing them inside your pumpkin.
Sprinkle with Cinnamon
This might be our favorite out of all the jack-o-lantern hacks we found. Once your pumpkin creation is complete, it’s time for the best part — sitting and admiring your creation! If you want to enjoy your jack-o-lantern inside your apartment, here’s a little bonus tip to excite your senses: Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on the base of your pumpkin’s “lid.” Make sure there isn’t any cinnamon at the bottom of your pumpkin, because it can be flammable. Light a small candle (we like using tea candles) and place the lid back on your pumpkin. In just a few minutes, your apartment will be smelling like pumpkin spice.