1. Pick the greenest, thickest stem.
Fresher pumpkins have greener stems. Avoid the dry and brittle. A bigger stem means a thicker pumpkin wall, which is best for carving.
2. Draw a blueprint.
Use a pen to outline your pumpkin design, then follow along with your knife for the most polished result.
WEB EXTRA: Best Spots For Pumpkin Picking
3. Use a kit.
A kids’ pumpkin-carving kit is a great tool. If you don’t have one on hand, use regular knifes (be careful!) and a wide salad-serving spoon or an ice-cream scoop to remove the pulp inside.
4. Cut a hole in back, not on top.
To ensure a long, healthy life for your jack-o’-lantern, avoid removing the stem, which supplies the pumpkin with moisture and nutrients. Instead, cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin to remove the pulp and seeds.
5. Hold the pumpkin in your lap to carve.
It’s easiest to carve clean, up-and-down lines with the pumpkin facing up at you.
6. Scoop out every last stringy bit.
Residual pumpkin pulp and seeds breed mold. Be vigilant about pulp removal to keep your pumpkin pristine.
7. Use your scraps.
Discarded pieces of pumpkin shell can be arranged into a necklace or a tongue for your jack-o’-lantern. Bake the seeds for a crunchy snack.
8. Add light, not heat.
LED or CFL lights brighten the pumpkin without heat. A candle can cook and break down the pumpkin from the inside.
Here’s where Elle celebrated fall and found her pumpkin:
Helen’s Greenhouses & Flower Farm
987 Union Avenue
Aquebogue, NY 11931
What’s something nobody knows about but everybody should? Whatever it is, Elle McLogan is tracking it down on The Dig. Join her hunt for treasures hidden across our area. Follow Elle on Twitter and Instagram.