8 Pumpkin Carving Tips

Be a master of pumpkin carving.

Want to be a master pumpkin-carver? Here's how.

1. Good carving starts with the right pumpkin. Choose one that is fresh (with a sturdy stem and no bruises) and that has a flat bottom (so it won't roll).

2. Cut out the lid - a boning knife works best. Cut on an angle (not straight up and down), so the lid won't drop inside the pumpkin when you replace it.

Related: Budget Friendly Kids Costumes

3. Remove the pulp. You can buy a special "claw," but an ice cream scoop will do. Thin the inner wall of the "face" area to 1 1/4-inch thick, so it will be easier to pierce the shell.

4. When you're ready to carve the features, hold the pumpkin in your lap so it's gazing up at you. Don't cut on a slant; clean up-and-down slices look best. To make intricate designs, try using a small saw. Pumpkin Masters makes a pumpkin-carving kit with a 4-in-1 tool, a scraper tool, a saw, a drill, a pounce wheel, and 14 patterns ($6.99; amazon.com).

Related: Make Your Own Pumpkin Lantern

5. Make a tongue out of a discarded piece of pumpkin shell.

6. Keep your pumpkin fresh. Spread petroleum jelly on the cut edges to seal in moisture. If your pumpkin still shrivels a few days later, revive it with a facedown soak in cold water for up to eight hours.

7. If you like to leave the lid on while the candle is lit, create a chimney. First, leave the lid on for a few minutes while the candle burns, then make a small hole where the lid has blackened.

Related: 6 Halloween-Themed Party Ideas

8. Sprinkle a little cinnamon inside the lid. When you light the candle, your jack-o'-lantern will smell like a pumpkin pie.

-Liz Borod

More from Good Housekeeping:
39 Household Items That Do Double Duty
70 Amazing Bedroom Decorating Ideas
11 Great Budget Buys for Your Home