Pumpkin Carving

It’s that time of year again: Halloween and pumpkin carving! We all know it’s really messy to carve pumpkins... but I think that's the fun of it and kids love to get dirty. Here's a little guidance on carving your own lovely pumpkin to give your home a ghostly glow.

Drilled pumpkins featured on MarthaStewart.com.
The first thing you need is, well, a pumpkin (I got a beautiful, organic one from Better Farm over the weekend—email info@betterfarm.org if you'd like one of theirs!) and the right tools for carving. You can get a pumpkin-carving kit or use knives you already have in your kitchen. One knife needs to be serrated and you'll definitely need a big spoon and maybe a fork to scoop out the guts of the pumpkin. You will need a toothpick or a marker to drew out your picture. And if you're going to get real adventurous, you might need a power drill. The cool thing about scooping the guts out is that you can keep the seeds and either cook them or dry them out and plant them next year (or for those of you with backyard chickens: The birds absolutely ADORE pumpkin seeds raw). Here are some tips you can do to make it safe and fun for the kids.

1. Safety first—Kids should always carve pumpkins with an adult present. Pumpkin carving can be a slippery business, so it is important to have an adult grip helping with this process. There are some great carving kits out there with safety knives for kids, like these from Pumpkin Masters.
2. Keep it simple Don't try to carve out President Obama on your first (or even 20th) pumpkin. Instead, try an easy carving pattern. The Internet is full of ideas. Google search away!
3. Accept imperfections—There will be uneven lines, bumpy circles and faces with one big eye. It's a learning process and many pumpkins will be sacrificed for the cause. 
4. Be a Picasso —Let your children paint pumpkins instead of you carving them. They'll be able to create the pumpkins of their dreams and you can all enjoy it longer than a cut-up pumpkin. 
5. Take pictures After all the time and effort you have put into this, make sure that you take plenty of pictures of your creations. 
6. Compost—Pumpkins are filled with great elements for your compost pile. Don't let all that gooey goodness go to waste!
7. Have fun!