When choosing a pumpkin for carving, size matters. And be sure to choose one with a relatively smooth surface. (Joe Fudge/Newport News Daily Press/MCT)
When choosing a pumpkin for carving, size matters. And be sure to choose one with a relatively smooth surface. (Joe Fudge/Newport News Daily Press/MCT)

It’s that time of year once again where people find themselves on the search for the optimal pumpkin to carve. Since most pumpkins are sold by the pound, it can be difficult to find a pumpkin that is cheap enough on a college budget.

Pumpkin patches are fun but can be expensive, especially when caught up in the excitement of finding the perfect pumpkin. Luckily, Smith’s carries pumpkins from less than one pound up to 18-20 pounds. Their local pumpkins ring up at 4 pounds for $1, which is a great deal.

Pumpkin stencils and carving utensils can be purchased at many craft and grocery stores, however there are free stencils online that are printable. Stencils can give you the desired design quickly and accurately. A knife can be used just as easily, if you have some patience.

Some other supplies that are helpful when carving pumpkins include: graph paper, which can be used to plot out your design and can be pinned in place to the pumpkin, making it easy to mark and carve, a wide angled spoon to easily pull the guts from the pumpkin and several pens or markers if you choose to draw your design on the pumpkin.

Most of these things, in addition to the knives to actually carve the pumpkins, are readily available to students at very little to no cost. One additional carving tool that is a little more costly is a looped sculpting tool that can be purchased at craft stores or online. It allows you to make circular lines without first making blocky slices into the pumpkin, which is required before smoothing them out when only using a knife.

Candles are usually fairly inexpensive, ranging from $1 to around $5 for larger ones. One of the easiest ways to insert them into the pumpkin is to cut a circular hole in the bottom of the pumpkin, upon which the candle is mounted. Once you’ve lit the candle, you can set the pumpkin gently over it and as long as it has proper ventilation, it will typically stay lit.

If you are hungry after all your carving, save the seeds. After being cleaned and dried off with a paper towel, they can be set on an oiled pan at 300 degrees for 30 minutes and then spiced with your favorite seasonings and baked an additional 20 minutes for a tasty, inexpensive treat.

 

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