|Pick a Pumpkin to Carve!|
1) Have the right equipment on hand. There are now pumpkin carving kits in the major stores that come with mini saws, scrapers, and patterns. While these utensils generally work well and are safer for children than regular knives, make sure to have some old-fashioned workhorse type knives and metal serving spoons for the scraping. Kids will need adult supervision with this, but can use the plastic saws in the kit on their own after the pumpkin lid is off and the pumpkin is scraped.
2) Find an outdoors area to do the cleaning and carving. It is a messy activity and you want to make sure everyone has plenty of space when handling knives and sharp objects. You might have more pumpkin waste than you can resuse for food, have a compost bin handy.
3) Save your pumpkin "guts". You can make soup or pies with the innards and toast the seeds. Toasted pumpkin seeds fresh from the oven are the perfect snack to end your carving party. Be sure to serve up some hot apple cider with cinnamon and other fall snacks. See this link for how to toast the raw seeds:
4) Get a variety of sizes and shapes of pumpkins to encourage creativity. Kroeger grocery stores here in Middle Tennessee have white pumpkins and gourds available too.
5) Don't forget a box of tea light candles and a long lighter to get your Jack-o-lanterns glowing! Some stores now carry electronic flame less candles.