How to make a Jack-O-Lantern, by Peony Village Apartments

You’ve got your pumpkin, a knife, and the Halloween spirit…so this is all you need to make the perfect Jack-O-Lantern, right???

Not so fast!  Check out these tips from Peony Village Apartments:

  • Choose your pumpkin!  Be sure to find one that is decent in size and shape.  It should be large enough to carve a nice design, plus have a nice round and smooth surface.  Also, don’t pick one that is too ripe.  Tap on it first to make sure it has a nice firm sound and not hollow.  Some good places to find pumpkins in the Omaha area are HyVee stores, like the one behind Peony Village Apartments, or one of the many pumpkin patches in the Metro area.
  • Prepare your pumpkin!  Wash the surface clean and dry it completely.  Next, cut a small circle around the stem, angling your carving knife at a slant inwards so that when you put your stem cover back on top your jack-o-lantern, the top doesn’t fall inside.  Now take a large spoon and dig out all the seeds and soft flesh from the inside of the pumpkin, leaving a smooth wall of flesh inside.
  • Sketch your design!  Before you start hacking away at your cleaned and prepared pumpkin, start off by making a sketch of your design on a piece of paper.  You can also buy premade stencils at Halloween stores, like Mangelsen’s in Omaha, or you may even find one on the internet.
  • Outline your sketch!  Once you have your design sketched out, tape your design sketch to your pumpkin in the area you want your carving.  Now take a skewer or toothpick (something with a sharp point) and make an outline of your sketch by poking dots through the paper into your pumpkin.  When you remove your paper stencil, you will have a clearly marked outline of where to start carving your pumpkin.
  • Find the right tools!  The more detailed your design, the more important it will be to have the right carving tools. Large kitchen knives can be clumsy and even dangerous when trying to hack into firm pumpkin flesh, so you will need a keyhole saw or a small carving knife, found in most retail stores throughout Omaha during the Halloween season.  You will find these knives much easier and more precise to work with.
  • Finish it off!  Once you carve out the pieces from your design, finish it off by trimming the edges and corners.  Now you can place your candle inside or battery powered candle, put the stem cover back on, and voila!  You now have a SPOOKtacular creation to add to your Halloween décor!

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