6 Tricks and Tips for Epic Pumpkin Carving this Halloween

What’s Halloween without some fun pumpkin carving activities? Before you grab your tools and get all set up, though, you’re going to want to check out these clever tricks for creating the best jack-o-lantern in the neighborhood.

  1. Choose your tools wisely. Serrated or boning knives work best for cutting out the lid or large holes in the bottom of the pumpkin for balance. Use an ice cream scoop to remove all those pesky seeds more easily. Try small paring knives that often come in pumpkin-carving kits for carving the finer details.
  2. Get the inside scoop. Forget straight up and down; carve the lid out on a slight angle to keep it from falling through once you replace it. Or don’t carve a lid – carve out the bottom instead.
  3. Let there be light. If you’re going with old-fashioned candles, create a little chimney so the pumpkin can breathe. Light a candle and put the lid back on for a few minutes. See where the lid has blackened and cut a small hole here for smoke to escape. For an easier alternative, grab some battery-operated tea lights, rainbow LEDs or even strobe lights for a cool – and less flammable – effect.
  4. Smells like… pumpkin spice? Make your jack-o-lantern smell like a seasonal delicacy by sprinkling a little cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice inside the lid. Once you light a candle, sit back and enjoy the aroma!
  5. Make your pumpkin go further. Save the pumpkin seeds for a yummy fall snack! And before you toss those gooey scraps, consider getting creative and using them as decorative elements that ooze from the mouth or eyes of your jack-o-lantern!
  6. Keep your jack-o-lantern smiling longer. By spreading petroleum jelly on the cut edges of the pumpkin, you can help seal in moisture. Or add some bleach to a spray bottle filled with water, then spray the pumpkin daily. You’ll be able to fight mold while preventing your pumpkin from drying out. If all else fails, try to revive your pumpkin by placing it facedown in cold water for up to 8 hours.

 

Halloween Trivia

Some fun trivia about the Halloween holiday:

Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.

Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.

Pumpkins also come in white, blue and green.

Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.

Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.

Pumpkins are actually a fruit.

The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.

Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States.

If you see a spider on Halloween, it is the spirit of a loved one watching over you.

Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.

The word pumpkin comes from the Greek meaning “large melon”.

The first US city to officially recognize Halloween was Anoka, Minnesota in 1921.

Pumpkins are 90% water.

If a person has an extreme, intense, or irrational fear of Halloween, they may be suffering from a condition known as samhainophobia.

Can you think of a word that rhymes with orange? Even if you use a dictionary, you won’t find any words to rhyme with orange.

It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Trivia

As a child growing up, the Halloween holiday was not complete without watching the yearly televised “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” special on TV. The show first appeared on October 27, 1966 and to this day airs annually at Halloween. It is a show that continues to entertain children of all ages.

Some trivia to see how well you remember “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”:

1. Which two people pick out a pumpkin in the opening scene?

2. Who is the only Charlie Brown character to believe in the Great Pumpkin?

3. Who says, “I had a little trouble with the scissors?”

4. Who waits with Linus in the pumpkin patch?

5. What is Snoopy’s costume?

6. Who kept getting rocks when the gang was out for tricks or treats?

7. Who hosts the Halloween party?

8. Snoopy imaged that what is an airplane?

9. According to Linus, the Great Pumpkin comes every Halloween to the most ________ pumpkin patch?

10. Does the Great Pumpkin ever arrive?

Having difficulty with the answers? I suggest taking some time to re-watch this classic Halloween special.

Watch a brief part of it here:

10 Fun ‘Horror’ Films To Watch this Halloween Season

10. Young Frankenstein (1974)

“Please! Remain in your seats. I beg you! We are not children here, we are scientists! I assure you there is nothing to fear!”

Directed by Mel Brooks and stars Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman and Teri Garr

PLOT: Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson, after years of living down the family reputation, inherits granddad’s castle and repeats the experiments.

9.  Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

“I’m just a mean green mother from outer space and I’m bad!”

Directed by Frank Oz and stars Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene and Vincent Gardenia

PLOT: A nerdish florist finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who demands to be fed.

8.  Shaun of the Dead (2004)

“We may have to kill my step-dad.”

Directed by Edgar Wright and stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Kate Ashfield

PLOT: A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

7.  Fright Night (1985)

“He got me Charley! You know what you’re gonna have to do now, don’t you? Kill me. Kill me, Charley…before I turn into a vampire and …GIVE YOU A HICKEY!”

Directed by Tom Holland and stars Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse and Roddy McDowall

PLOT: When a teenager learns that his next door neighbor is a vampire, no one will believe him.

6.  The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

“I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.”

Directed by Jim Sharman and stars Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick

PLOT: A newly engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must pay a call to the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

5. Tremors (1990)

“No tracks, no sign, no spoor… you’d think after eating all those sheep they’d have to take a dump some place.”

Directed by Ron Underwood and stars Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross and Reba McEntire

PLOT: Natives of a small isolated town defend themselves against strange underground creatures which are killing them one by one.

4.  Gremlins (1984)

” With Mogwai, comes much responsibility.”

Directed by Joe Dante and stars Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates and Hoyt Axton

PLOT: A boy inadvertently breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.

3.  Scary Movie (2000)

“No! Watching TV shows doesn’t create psycho killers. Canceling TV shows does!”

Directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans and stars Anna Faris, Jon Abrahams, Marlon Wayans and Carmen Electra

PLOT: A year after disposing the body of a man they accidently killed, a group of dumb teenagers are stalked by a bumbling serial killer.

2.  Beetlejuice (1988)

“Barb, honey…we’re dead. I don’t think we have very much to worry about anymore.”

Directed by Tim Burton and stars Alec Baldwin, Michael Keaton, Geena Davis and Winona Ryder

PLOT: A couple of recently deceased ghosts contract the services of a “bio-exorcist” in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house.

1.  Zombieland (2009)

“Best thing about Z land – no Facebook status updates.”

Directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin

PLOT: A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, and a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the Last Twinkie and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.

Top 5 Zombieland Rules

  1. Cardio
  2. The Double Tap
  3. Beware of Bathrooms
  4. Wear Seat Belts
  5. No Attachments

HALLOWEEN FUN & TIPS

 Pumpkin

 Halloween is here – YEAH!! Time for decorating, dressing up and trick-or-treating, activities that every child enjoys.

 PUMPKIN CARVING TIPS

Good carving starts with the right pumpkin. Choose one that is fresh (with a sturdy stem & no bruises) and that has a flat bottom.

Cut out the lid – a boning knife works best. Cut on an angle (not straight up and down), so the lid won’t drop inside the pumpkin when you replace it).

Remove the pulp. You can buy a special “claw” but an ice-cream scoop will do. Thin the inner wall of the “face” area to 1 1/4 inch thick, so it will be easier to pierce the shell.

When you’re ready to carve the features, hold the pumpkin in your lap so it’s gazing up at you. Don’t cut on a slant; clean up-and-down slices to look best. To make intricate designs, try using a small saw.

Make a tongue out of discarded piece of pumpkin shell.

Keep your pumpkin fresh. Spread petroleum jelly on the cut edges to seal in moisture. If your pumpkin still shrivels a few days later, revive it with a facedown soak in cold water for up to eight hours.

If you like to leave the lid on while the candle is lit, create a chimney. First, leave the lid on for a few minutes while the candle burns, them make a small hole where the lid has blackened.

Sprinkle a little cinnamon inside the lid. When you light the candle, your jack-o’-lantern will smell like a pumpkin pie.

 How do you mend a broken jack-o-lantern? With a pumpkin patch

Why do jack-o-lanterns have stupid smiles on their faces? You’d have a stupid smile too if you just had all your brains scooped out.

 TRICK-OR-TREATING SAFETY TIPS

 ● Carry a bright flashlight to illuminate sidewalks, steps and paths. Check batteries before leaving. Make it more fun for the kids and use glow sticks.

● Make sure the little ones use the restroom before venturing out.

● Serve your kids a filling meal before trick-or-treating and they won’t be tempted to eat any candy before you get a chance to inspect it.

● Be careful when crossing the streets. Make sure to look in both directions and cross only at corners or crosswalks. Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters.

● Try to remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edges of the roadway facing traffic. Never cut across yards or use alleys. .

● Know the route your kids are taking if you aren’t going with them. Let them know they are to check in with you every hour, by phone or by stopping back at home. Give them a time to be home by. Make sure they know how important it is to call if something happens and if they are doing to be delayed in returning home on time.

● Make sure to only go to homes with a porch light on and that kids know to never enter a home or car for a treat.

● Wear comfortable walking shoes.

● Stay away from animals you do not know. Even be careful of those you do know as Halloween can be a bit traumatic for animals.

● Carry a spare Halloween bag just in case.

 Halloween Trivia

 Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.

Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.

Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States.

Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers #1.

Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.

 Halloween Movie Trivia

 1. What is the name of the movie that stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as 3 sister witches?

 2. What is the name of the villain in “Halloween”?

 3. How many times do you say “Beetlejuice” to make him appear?

 4. Who waits to be visited by The Great Pumpkin?

 5. How many “Halloween” movies have been made?

 6. Halloweentown is from what movie?

 We hope that everyone has a great and safe Halloween!

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