Halloween is a fun festival when a Jack-o-lantern made out of a pumpkin is the heart of all the decorations. In fact the porch or window of your home will look quite forlorn on the trick and treat day if there is no grinning pumpkin face lighted up there. Carving a pumpkin lantern is fairly easy if we put our hand to it.
Selecting the pumpkin
The pumpkin should be fresh to ensure longevity. It should be medium sized and evenly rounded to give a pleasant shape to the lantern and ensure smooth carving. Select a pumpkin with a greenish stalk. Spread a newspaper or clean plastic sheet and place the pumpkin on it.
How to prepare the pumpkin
First ascertain where you need to place the lantern. If you are to place it on a flat surface you might need to flatten an end to ensure it does not topple over, not needed if you are hanging the lantern. Carefuly cut out the stalk in a broad circle. Carefully use a large spoon or your fingers scoop out the seeds and stringy fibers. Also trim some of the flesh so that the light shines through.
The seeds and flesh can be used for cooking later.
Designing the cut out
Select and draw the design of the pumpkin face of your choice on a stiff sheet of paper. Cut out the shape as a stencil very carefully. Draw the shape through the stencil onto the side of the pumpkin with a marker pen. Make sure that the design is on the broad side of the pumpkin to get the best look. You may choose a tradition smiling face or may opt for a more edgy design as per your choice.
Cutting shapes on the pumpkin
Using a very sharp and thin paring knife, score lines across the shape you have marked on the pumpkin. Then proceed to slowly cut out the flesh from the marked areas. Carefully remove the debris to get sharp lines. Keep cutting in small slices till the shape of the face of the Jack-o-lantern is clearly defined.. Make a niche in the cavity to place the light,
Lighting the lantern
Traditionally candles were used to light the lantern, but it was a difficult task keeping the flickering flame going. Itt is also dangerous if the lantern topples over or is placed near inflammable stuff like hay. Also te trailing costumes of the tric or treaters can pose a fire hazard. If still candles are to be used, ensconce them safely in the niche carved for the purpose. Then ensure a proper ventilation to keepthe flame burning.
Now a day it is a more practical solution to use LED tea lights or flashlights to ensure a steady light. It is also much safer with kids around.
It is indeed a easy Do It yourself task to carve a pumpkin lantern. So go ahead and enjoy making and lighting these pumpkin lanterns to brighten your Halloween!