With October comes crisp fall air, chunky sweaters and, of course, Halloween. Did you know that more than 1.1 billion pounds of pumpkin are produced each year in the country? But arguably the best part of the month is getting to carve your pumpkin. To make the best one to decorate your apartment, you'll need a good pumpkin carving stencil to get your design just right.
After picking up the sturdiest orange pumpkins (make sure it has the stem!) from your local farm or store, all you need is a good idea for your pumpkin carving template and the right tools to bring your spooky idea to life.
Find our best pumpkin carving tips below, along with five pumpkin carving stencil ideas to get your creative juices started. Or, if you're not up for it or you have small children, how to still decorate your pumpkin without carving.
Carving a pumpkin isn't difficult per se, but it does require quite a few steps to get it just right, especially if you're doing an intricate design. Here's how to get started.
Pumpkin carving tool kits are a great start, but as your stencil design gets more complicated, start thinking about textures, details and other elements you can bring to your design. Paring knives, lemon zesters, spoons, Exacto knives and other sculpting tools can take your design to the level.
Think outside the box when getting your pumpkin and leave the perfect round pumpkin on the shelf. You can work the shape and size of your pumpkin into your carving — an awkwardly shaped one can add the spooky to your overall design.
We know, you're probably like, huh? I've always opened it from the top. However, if you open the pumpkin from the bottom, all of the seeds fall out at once. Then scoop out any remains — a lot easier than sticking your whole arm in there to scoop.
Before you start working on carving your pumpkin, please give it a good cleaning on the outside to ensure no traces of pumpkin meat or dirt. A clean pumpkin will help you trace better and make sure your tools can be swift when carving.
Pumpkin carving stencils, whether you drew them yourself or printed them out below, can help you get the design just right. Once you finalize it, grab a marker or pen, put the page on the pumpkin and start tracing the pumpkin's design. Make sure you leave enough room to maneuver your tools when carving.
After tracing your design, pick a spot to start. Once you start carving, don't pull out the pieces as you go. Keep it as intact as possible, so there's no breakage, and it stays stable. Use different tools to approach corners, get textures and get those details right. It pays to take your time. In the end, stick your hand inside the pumpkin and push the pieces out softly. Your design will come to life.
When you're carving the pumpkin, and the inside is losing a lot of moisture, the pumpkin will start oxidizing. To avoid becoming mushy, keep spraying it while working on it to keep it wet and easy to use.
When you're done for the day but not done with your project, mist it one last time and wrap it with plastic wrap.
You can get really creative with your pumpkin — you can make it cute or very scary, depending on your audience. Trying to pick one idea may prove to be difficult so here's five pumpkin carving stencils to get you started. And yes, we had to go timely with the last one.
When you're ready to start, simply download the stencils, print them out and get carving!
Sometimes, you just have to go with the classics. Frankenstein's monster remains on theme with the holiday. Thanks to its block patterns, it's easy to carve out using this stencil but still looks real good on your porch.
Not all stencils need to be scary. Get your kids together to carve this adorable bat stencil on their pumpkins.
What's more Halloween than "The Nightmare Before Christmas"? Everyone can do Jack, but what about Oogie Boogie? It has a few difficult details, but overall it's an approachable pattern.
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The year 2020 didn't quite turn out how we expected it with the coronavirus and never-ending quarantine. But who says we can't spook trick and treaters with an ode to the virus and this unprecedented time.
Ready to start carving your very own pumpkin? Follow these 10 steps with only a few materials to bring your stencil to life and spook every single one of your neighbors.
If you have small children or aren't up for carving (it's messy, we get it!), you can still join in on the fun with the following no-carve ideas:
Whether it's your neighborhood Halloween contest or with your friends and family, the key to walking away with the top prize for best pumpkin is a good plan. Wow your competitors with these detailed pumpkin carving designs, then light it up at night with small lanterns to spook them while trick or treatin'.