Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lessons in Pumpkin Carving...

 by Amber Leigh Williams

There's nothing more Halloween than carving a pumpkin! It's my favorite part of All Hallows Eve. We take our pumpkin-carving very seriously in the Williams family so I thought I'd put together a little pumpkin-carving demonstration....

Step #1 - Find the perfect pumpkin!
When I was younger, I thought the bigger the pumpkin the better. Over the years, however, I've grown to love smaller pumpkins. Probably because...well, they just look cute. Last year, my father gave my sister and I these two pumpkins at left, which were about five pounds each.
See what I mean by cute??? :)

Step #2 - Find your favorite design!
My sister and I usually find our favorite pumpkin faces online through Google Images. She found this Creshire Cat smile for hers last year. Before stenciling the design onto the pumpkin, she practiced on paper. Since Halloween just happens to be in the middle of football season, I picked a design more suited to my favorite college team.

Step #3 - Set up a work station and use caution!
Newspaper works best on a flat, hard surface. You'll need at least one bowl for the pumpkin gook as well as knives, paper towels, wet cloths, and pencils. Here my sister demonstrates how to top a pumpkin. And she'll be the first to tell you that if using knife like her, take care. You really don't want to hear her Christmas story involving a brand new Swiss Army knife and a very bloody finger.... Yeep!

Step #4 - Begin carving!
Here we see the hub working hard on one design and my sister...well, really getting into the spirit of Halloween. Don't try this at homes, kids! While she's using a regular knife for her design, he hunted up a much smaller blade for the more intricate part of the collegiate football design that we chose.

Step #5 - Save the seeds for snack time!
When taking out all the gobbledygook for an added bonus, separate the pumpkin seeds from the rest of the innards. Between our two small pumpkins, we had enough seeds to bake quite a few pumpkin seeds for seasonal snack time later that evening....

Step #6 - Turn down the lights for showtime!
Turn down the lights, light the candle, and place the top back on your pumpkin to admire the finished product. It's best the carve your pumpkin a few days before Halloween so they keep their shape through the holiday. Set it up on your front porch so the neighborhood can admire your work! Oh, and don't forget to pick out a costume so you can give those trick-or-treaters the full Halloween experience. This year, I'll be opening the door as a western showgirl. How 'bout you?

And if you like a good thrill, don't forget to pick up a copy of fast-paced romantic suspense Denied Origin this holiday season! It's got heat to warm the chilly October nights and one fright-worthy villain. Purchase it now in paperback or ebook at The Wild Rose Press!
Amber Leigh Williams is a multi-published romance author, a member of Romance Writers of America, former Secretary of the Gulf Coast Chapter of RWA, and a monthly contributor to The Roses of Prose and Sweethearts of the West. Her first western romance, Blackest Heart, was the 1st Place More Than Magic Novella in 2009 and her historical romance, Forever Amore, was nominated for Best Book of 2009 by Long & Short Reviews. She is represented by D4EO Literary Agency and lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband, Jacob, and their three labs. Visit her on the web at!


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Amber
Great post, I am an Aussie so we don't celebrate Halloween as you do in the US, but you explained everything so clearly, I feel motivated to decorate a pumpkin or two myself.



Amber Leigh Williams said...

Margaret, do Aussies celebrate Halloween differently or not much at all? I always like learning how other holidays are celebrated differently throughout the world :)

Barbara Edwards said...

I love carving pumpkins, too. We have a porch and the lighted jack-o-lanterns look really spooky. Thanks for the advice about sharp knives. I've used a lot of bandages over the years.

Alison Henderson said...

I haven't carved a pumpkin since my daughter was four and decided it was too messy and looked too scary at night out on the deck. I don't miss the mess, but I do love lighted jack-o-lanterns.

Jannine Gallant said...

I carve pumpkins with my girls every year. That Cheshire cat design is wonderful. I may have to steal it!

Colleen Connally said...

My kids always wanted their pumpkins way ahead of Halloween when they were little. Started painting them. Good memories.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I haven't carved a pumpkin since I discovered designs drawn on with a magic marker looked pretty cool, too. That, and, I don't like putting my hand into the pumpkin's slimmy innards.