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Pumpkin decorating is one of the main symbols of Halloween and there are many ways to decorate pumpkins that do not involve carving. Small children can paint on a face or glue on objects. Young children can carve pumpkins with supervision which can make it a fun family activity. However, safety is very important when carving a pumpkin. Here are some great tips for decorating or carving your Halloween pumpkin.
• Remember lighter colored pumpkins are usually softer and are easier to carve.
• Plan to carve the pumpkin in a well lit area.
• Place a newspaper on top of the carving surface to catch the pumpkin innards. Just roll it up and throw it away once you have scooped out the goop. The pumpkin pulp is slippery and could cause falls if it gets under foot.
• Make sure that the pumpkin, your hands and all tools and knives are clean and dry so that the hands do not slip down the blade.
• Smaller children can help by drawing the face on the pumpkin. They should not be performing the actual carving.
• Keep sharp tools off the floor and away from the busy hands of youngsters.
• Older children should be well-supervised if they are using tools or knives.
• Before carving, scoop the inside walls of the pumpkin to about an inch thickness. This will improve pumpkin carving ease.
• Use carving kits with serrated saws as they improve carving safety. The serrated edge cuts easily through the pumpkin and uses less force. These tools are smaller and more maneuverable than using a knife.
• Cut in short strokes moving the cutting hand away from the body.
• Take your time and enjoy the process.
• Coat cut edges of the pumpkin with petroleum jelly to seal the wound and make the Jack-O-Lantern last longer.
• Spray the cut surface as well as the entire inside with Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner with Bleach. Don't forget to do the underside of your pumpkin's cap.
• Spray or rub the inside of the pumpkin with diluted lemon juice to retard mold.
• To perk up an older Jack-O-Lantern, soak it in a bucket of cool water for several hours.
• Sprinkle cinnamon on your Jack-O-Lantern for a seasonal smell.