Last year I carved a series of pumpkins for The Sports Network here in Canada. Of course I had carved pumpkins growing up at home, but they were mostly the traditional jack-o-lantern faces, with nice sharp features and cut through holes.
When I took on this job for the television studio, I had to bring my best work. I wanted to make sure I picked the most optimal pumpkins so I did a bit of research ahead of time. I found some great information from Life Hacker about selecting and taking care of your pumpkin. My biggest worry was them going moldy after being carved.
The most important tips I used were:
– Visit a local pumpkin farm if you can. Their stock will be less travelled, which means less likely to have bruises.
– Pick a pumpkin with smooth skin if you plan on carving an intricate design.
– After carving spray lightly (inside and out), daily with a bleach/water solution to keep the mold from growing.
To carve these I ended up using the traditional transfer method of paper template and pin pricks to create a dotted line on the flesh of the pumpkin. I found that carbon transfer paper did not stick at all. I also used my very sharp and beautiful Swiss made Pfeil wood carving chisels. I was able to get some really nice sharp lines. A lino cutter would achieve a similar effect. The sharper the blade the easier it will be to carve.
I encourage you to try leveling up on your carving skills this Halloween. There are a lot of great resources and patterns available online. Happy carving!