Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips

You daringly dashed out, kids in tow, to the pumpkin patch this year and proudly hauled your pumpkin loot home.  Now, what is the next natural step but to carve away!

Right?  Hold it!

You want Halloween to be filled with fake gore, not real severed fingers.

Before you break out the candles and knives, keep some of these important safety tips in mind.

Adults must always supervise.

This should go without saying but I will say it anyhow: Never leave children unattended with sharp objects and slimy gourds.  It is best to leave the carving to adults.  Let kids scoop out the seeds and rinse them for roasting.  There are also many alternatives to carving pumpkins.  Painting, paper mache, and other techniques are fun and don't require the use of dangerous tools.

Make your work area and your pumpkin clean and dry.

Slippery and sharp do not mix.  Make sure to wash your pumpkin and dry it thoroughly and have a clean working space.  Lay down newspaper or a towel to catch any drips.

Always cut away from yourself. 

If you are carving out the design make sure you never cut towards your other hand.  Stop and adjust your grip.  Hitting a soft spot on the pumpkin will cause the tool to slide right through the flesh and into your flesh.

Use a pumpkin carving kit. 

Kitchen knives may seem to be a safe choice but the large sharp blades can easily cut too deep or slip.  The little saws in the pumpkin carving kits may seem weenie, but they are designed to saw through the pumpkin and reduce the risk of injury.

Another way you can let the kids participate is by getting little battery-operated candles instead of using real tea-lights in your finished pumpkin.  Kids love putting the little lights in their creation and they can be used over and over again. You can find battery operated candles at a craft and hobby store.  They are sometimes called flameless votives.

Remember, carving pumpkins is a risky business.  Use common sense and avoid some of the simple blunders mentioned above and you should have a jack-o-lantern that is beautiful and blood-free!

Aadel Bussinger

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