Vegan Pumpkin Pie
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Carving a pumpkin isn’t rocket science, but it’s still wise to have a game plan. Before you lop off the top of that pumpkin and grab a handful of gooey squash guts, take a look through our basic guide to carving the best Halloween pumpkin.
Follow these steps and you’ll end up with a cute and classic jack-o’-lantern with easy, no-fuss cleanup afterwards.
Pick a Long-Lasting Pumpkin
You want your pumpkin to last through Halloween and beyond, right? This starts with the kind of pumpkin you pick out. Read our tips here for picking a good, long-lasting pumpkin, and prepping it for preserving:
Get Your Workspace Ready
First rule of pumpkin carving: Do it somewhere you don’t mind getting messy, ideally outdoors. Line your work surface (a sturdy table or the ground) with something you’ll throw away later — like butcher paper, newsprint, or flattened brown paper grocery bags. If using the latter, simply cut down one side of the grocery bag, then cut off the base of the bag so you have a big rectangle of brown paper. Layer a few of these on the table and you’re good to go.
Gather the Right Tools for the Job
Once you’ve got your work surface ready, it’s time to assemble the proper tools. You can totally get a pumpkin carving kit from your local drugstore, supermarket, or Halloween pop-up shop. Or you can use a few tools from your kitchen. (See: To Carve Pumpkins Safely, You Only Need These Two Tools.) Just make sure you have everything you need at the ready so you don’t have to traipse back through your kitchen with pumpkin-gut-covered hands.
2 Key Tools for Pumpkin Carving
Draw Before You Carve
In addition to your carving tools, you’ll need a pen for drawing your design onto the pumpkin, and couple big bowls — one for the seeds (the best part of pumpkin carving!) and one for the rest of the pumpkin goo and throwaway bits leftover from carving. And that’s about it, really!
Don’t Throw Away the Seeds!
Whatever you do, save those pumpkin seeds! They’re so, so good roasted simply with oil and salt. It’s not hard, but we have all the steps for you, just in case.
The steps: How To Roast Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
How To Carve a Pumpkin
What You Need
- 1 medium-sized pumpkin (or as many as you want to carve)
- Brown paper grocery bags, newsprint, or butcher paper
- Sharpie or other permanent marker
- Pumpkin carving kit(including a scraper, carving knife, and a wire modeling tool) or a serrated knife, ladle, and an X-ACTO knife
- Two medium bowls (one for seeds, one for pumpkin guts)
- Kitchen towel
- Tea light candle and long match or lighter with extended nozzle
- Set up your workspace: Line a sturdy table with flattened grocery bags, newsprint, or butcher paper. Have your permanent marker, carving tools, and bowls nearby.
- Draw your design: After you’ve determined the best side of your pumpkin for a face, use the permanent marker to sketch out eyes, a nose, and a toothy grin.
- Draw your lid: Outline a circular lid around the pumpkin stem, about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Add a notch in the back if you like — this makes it easier to line up.
- Cut out the pumpkin lid:With a slim pumpkin carving knife (the carving tool with a toothed blade like a mini-saw) or serrated knife, cut along the outline of your pumpkin lid. Make sure you slice through the pumpkin at a 45-degree inward angle, so you’ll be able to replace the lid without it falling in.