Halloween is right around the corner and so is one of its main features: pumpkins! With so many fun competitions both online and in your community, pumpkin carving contests are all the rage for both children and adults. Here are some simple steps to help ensure your pumpkin takes home a prize.
Step 1: Competition Guidelines
The first step is to read the rules associated with the competition you’re entering. Each contest can have different restrictions contestants must follow in order to be eligible, including the pumpkin size and theme. Take these rules into consideration along with all judging criteria prior to carving your masterpiece.
Step 2: Get Creative
The key to stand out from the rest is to let your creativity guide you. A good way to gain inspiration is to check out past winning designs and any carving templates that catch your eye.
Step 3: Pick the Right Pumpkin
It’s important to come up with the pattern before selecting your pumpkin so you know which size and shape goes best with your chosen design. Additionally, choose a pumpkin that will survive through the contest. When searching for yours, eliminate any that have soft spots or cuts. Finally, pull the stem firmly to make sure it’s not loose.
Step 4: Prep Your Pumpkin
Wash and dry the exterior of your pumpkin with water to get rid of any residue. Next, identify the side of the pumpkin you’d like to carve and trace the pattern you selected using a marker or pencil.
Step 5: Gather Your Tools
A popular method for removing the seeds from the interior of the pumpkin is to use an ice cream scoop. You will also need a large knife for the rough carving work, and a smaller sharp knife for the detail carving. Once you have all your tools ready, you can begin.
Step 6: Remove Seeds
First, cut a large hole near the stem of the pumpkin as a lid. If you prefer, you can also cut the lid from the bottom or the back, wherever necessary for your pumpkin’s design. Next, remove the lid and scoop out the seeds and pulp from the inside using your ice cream scooper.
Step 7: Carve Your Masterpiece
Once your pumpkin has been cleaned, use your smaller detail carving knife to cut out the pattern traced. Be sure to cut outside of the lines, being extra careful around the small pieces.
Step 8: Preserve Your Pumpkin
After you’ve completed the carving, place the pumpkin in a mixture of three gallons of water to a teaspoon of bleach. Allow it to air dry, and then cover the exposed edges with a cooking oil. This will prevent your pumpkin from browning and going bad prior to the contest.
Step 9: Pumpkin Pictures
Many contests will require you to submit photos of your pumpkin for evaluation, so it’s crucial to get the most optimal photos of your design. Some helpful tips include taking the picture at the same level as the pumpkin, using a solid backdrop, and allowing the pumpkin to fill the frame in order to show the most detail of the design.
Win or lose, pumpkin carving is a great way to get into the holiday spirit and have some fun!