Nothing can get your family in the Halloween spirit like carving a pumpkin together. To help ensure your children enjoy a fun and safe pumpkin-carving experience, we’ve put together this list of tips, tools, and general advice.
1. Pick a pumpkin that’s good for carving.
A safe pumpkin-carving experience starts with choosing the right pumpkin. Here are a few tips for selecting the perfect one.
Look for a pumpkin with smooth, less bumpy skin. A smooth pumpkin is easier for kids to draw on and safer for you to carve.
Avoid pumpkins that feel heavy for their size. This can indicate thick walls that could be difficult to carve through.
Skip any pumpkins with soft spots, which can indicate rotting.
Inspect the pumpkinfor any nicks or cuts that may make it vulnerable to infection.
Pick a pumpkin with a flat, front surface for carving—that will yield the best results.
According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, Halloween often results in serious hand injuries—requiring three to four months for rehabilitation. To help avoid a trip to the ER, take these precautions when carving your pumpkin.
Use small, controlled motions.
Choose a location that is well lit and a work surface that’s sturdy.
Keep your hands and carving tools dry.
For added safety, leave the pumpkin top on so you don’t put your hand inside the pumpkin and risk cutting it.
Never let a young child carve a pumpkin. If you allow your older child to create a jack-o’-lantern, supply them with age-appropriate carving tools and supervise them closely.
To help keep your child’s interest, choose a design that’s easy to carve and won’t take long. Consider downloading a few pumpkin templates ahead of time, and let your child pick the one they like best.
4. Keep your kid occupied.
While you’re carving, keep your child busy (and out of harm’s way) by letting them decorate a small pumpkin all their own. From covering the pumpkin in glitter or adorning it in rhinestones to transforming it into their favorite character, there’s a wealth of kid-friendly ways to decorate a pumpkin.
5. Clean up quickly.
Pumpkin carving is fun, but it’s also messy — especially when kids are involved. Slippery pumpkin flesh or seeds may end up on the floor and cause a fall. To help minimize this risk, lay down newspaper or a disposable drop cloth under your work area, and pick it up as soon as you’re done carving.
Burning candles are a potential fire hazard, and they can be especially dangerous to kids. This year, try illuminating your pumpkin with an LED tea light instead of a candle. Or, give your pumpkin extra pizzazz with a special effects battery operated light.