Carving Pumpkins Safely This Halloween

One of the most integral parts of Halloween, pumpkin carving is a fun pastime but not without its safety tips. Here’s how to ensure a happy and healthy Halloween for all.

Precautions. Scooping out pumpkin pulp and seeds is messy work, so it’s smart to work outside. Set up a workstation covered with some newspapers, preferably on a lawn. Pumpkin pulp on a driveway or deck can be slippery if dropped. You’ll want to collect your tools consisting of a marking tool, thick gloves, a kitchen knife, precision knife and a large spoon or garden trowel. Always be mindful of your cutting tools and don’t leave them lying around where children or pets could come across them.

Carving. Draw out the pattern first as well as the marks on top to make the lid. Marking beforehand will give you a steadier hand when cutting. When cutting the lid, hold the kitchen knife at a 45-degree angle. You’ll end up with a lid that doesn’t fall through the hole once it begins to dry or lose mass. Afterwards, remove the pulp and seeds with the trowel or spoon. Set the innards in a container or bag, making sure your hands are clean and not slippery afterwards. Use a precision knife for the more intricate parts of the design. Avoid a “saw” motion with the knife as this can result in the knife slipping. Use a series of careful jabs instead.

Illumination. A candle is the traditional way to light a jack-o-lantern, but an open candle can be a fire hazard. If using a candle, be thorough when removing any leaves or flammable material around. Never leave the candle unattended. Keep out of reach from trick-or-treaters and away from long, flowing costumes. A safer alternative to candles are glow sticks. There’s no flames, cord or batteries and they’re waterproof.

Displaying. Traditionally jack-o-lanterns are placed at home entrances, but they can unintentionally invite rodents and insects to your home. These pests are drawn to the exposed soft inner flesh of the pumpkins. Place pumpkins a few feet away from entry points and make sure any cracks or gaps leading to your home are sealed. As the carved pumpkin begins to rot, pieces could be a slipping hazard. Monitor them daily and dispose of them when they’re not looking at their best anymore.

Source: the Spruce

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