Halloween is just around the corner and if you plan to teach your teenage children how to carve a Jack O’ Lantern, you only need five basic steps. As a parent, you may need to closely supervise your children as you’ll be using sharp tools.
For starters, you may want to choose a large pumpkin with smooth skin so you can easily carve different shapes on the surface.
Step 1: Cut and take off the crown
Use a serrated knife to cut off the upper portion of the pumpkin. Make an opening that is large enough for you to remove the flesh and its seeds. Some people don’t advise to use a sharp knife because it increases injury risks. If you think this is the best time to teach your kids how to use a knife, you may want to have them use nylon kitchen knives.
Step 2: Scoop out the flesh and seeds
Carefully scoop the flesh and seeds out of the pumpkin. Your kids may enjoy scooping out the flesh and seeds with their hands. However, if you’re expecting a guest or two, you may want to use a large serving spoon to scoop it out. Pumpkin-lentil soup, pumpkin hummus, and pumpkin cakes are some of the pumpkin recipes you can try this Halloween using the insides of the pumpkin.
Step 3: Draw an outline for the face
Use a marker pen to draw the usual triangles for the eyes, nose, and mouth on the surface of the pumpkin. You may want to let your kids who want to be involved to draw the face outlines if they’re not yet allowed to use a knife. Some people who want to level up their Jack O’Lantern carvings download and print free pumpkin patterns.
Step 4: Cut out or carve the outlined portions
Use a knife to cut out the shapes you drew on the surface of the pumpkin. If you don’t want to use a knife, you may want to buy a cheap pumpkin carving kit. Carving kits are especially helpful if you’re carving complicated shapes on the surface.
Step 5: Place a tea light or LED inside
Some people use a tea light to illuminate their Jack O’ Lantern because they like the smell of the heated pumpkin flesh. If you have a budget and you want to amaze your guests with your Jack O’ Lantern, there’s a battery-operated LED with a remote and timer you can buy. It has a flickering mode that makes it look like a candle. Place your illuminated pumpkin at a dark corner away from walkways. You may want to turn off some house lights for more emphasis.
The story of mischievous “Stingy Jack”
“Stingy Jack” is an Irish mythical character who tricked the devil and the first one to use the Jack O’ Lantern. The devil gave Jack a lump of burning coal as light instead as it could not claim his soul. Jack placed the light inside a carved turnip as he roamed the earth. An Irish tradition centuries ago was to carve scary faces on turnips and potatoes to ward off evil spirits. When Irish people reached America, they found out that pumpkins are perfect for making Jack O’ Lanterns.
Carving a Jack O’ Lantern is a fun activity you and your kids may want to try this Halloween. All it takes is five simple steps but there could be more if you want to improve your carving skills. When doing carving activities, safety must be your utmost priority to protect yourself and kids from injuries.