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You pick the perfect pumpkin, come up with a fantastic design, and put in lots of time, but your finished jack-o-lantern still doesn’t match the scene that was in your head.

Don’t worry, like everything else there are some tricks of the trade that apply to pumpkin carving. With a little practice, imagination and pumpkin perseverance you too can have a beautifully carved pumpkin decorating your front porch. Here are some tips to make sure you carve a perfect pumpkin this year! 

  • Saw don’t cut. even if you’re using an extremely sharp knife, serrated edges are better for getting through a pumpkin’s tough exterior and leaving you with nice, clean edges.
  • Buy a pumpkin carving kit. You probably have some carving tools at home, but buying an inexpensive carving kit is well worth the investment! Spend a few bucks to get the right tools for the job.
  • Don’t carve too early.  Once cut,  a jack-o-lantern usually lasts 5 to 10 days before it starts too look less scary or more gooey. If you want to make sure your pumpkin looks perfect for Halloween, make sure that you don’t carve it too early!
  • Think outside the box pumpkin. Props are a great way to give your pumpkin some personality. Taffy for tongues, wood chips for teeth or cotton candy for brains are just a few examples of how creative you can get!
  • Multiple small pumpkins are better than one large pumpkin. Quantity is actually better than quality when it comes to jack-o-lanterns. Having half a dozen little pumpkins will actually look more impressive than having one or two big ones!
  • Use an electric light! Carve a whole in the back of your pumpkin to fit the cord and plug in an electric light. This will help you avoid the heat damage that comes with candles  and can also create some variety if you use a colored bulb.
  • Paint your pumpkins.  if you want pumpkins to last a lot longer, don’t carve your pumpkins at all. Painted pumpkins may not not have the classic illuminating effect at night time, but they are a much safer option for kids that will last a lot longer as well.
  • Prevent mold with a chlorine. Wash your freshly carved pumpkin in chlorine or bleach to keep them fresh longer and keep the mold off!
  • Use a dry erase marker for planning your design. Unlike a permanent marker, using a dry erase will allow you to erase smudges, make design changes and get rid of lines after you’re done cutting.
  • Use power tools, according to the experts at extremepumpkins.com power tools are even better than traditional hand tools for certain types of designs. Just make sure you’re careful and stay safe!
  • Use a template. No, it’s not cheating! Plenty of pre-drawn designs are available on the internet that you can use to create a unique looking pumpkin. Here are some special geek inspired designs if you want to try something different!

What’s your favorite pumpkin carving tip? let us know in our comments section below! 

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