With Halloween just a little over a week away, we decided it was time to finally carve the pumpkins that have been sitting on our front porch for the last two weeks. Well, I take that back…we didn’t actually carve our pumpkins. At six and three years old my kids aren’t quite ready to wield knives, so instead of carving they decorated their pumpkins like a pirate and a princess using little plastic accessories that stick into the pumpkins. They don’t have the look of traditional jack-o-lanterns, but our pumpkins are festive none-the-less and were a lot less dangerous (and less messy!) to create.
Should pumpkin carving be on your list of Halloween-related activities this week, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- Use the right tools. Consumer Reports tested the specialty tools in pumpkin carving kits and found that they work better and are safer than regular knives (because they’re smaller and not as sharp) for sawing through rinds, poking holes, and scraping out the insides of pumpkins.
- Carve before removing the pumpkin top. Once the pumpkin’s top has been removed, people have a tendency to stabilize the pumpkin by sticking one hand inside the pumpkin and then inadvertently cutting toward that hand.
- Take precautions. Carve in a clean, dry, well-lit area; keep your hands and tools clean and dry; and take your time.
- Don’t let kids carve. Most Halloween accidents happen to kids between the ages of 10 and 14, so don’t let kids do the actual carving until they’re at least 14 years old. Instead, let them create a carving design and then trace the design onto the pumpkin with a permanent marker. An adult can do the carving by following the design. For children younger than 10 years old, consider a pumpkin carving kit.
- Be prepared for injuries. Pull out your first aid kit ahead of time, and keep your phone – on which you’ve already downloaded the American Red Cross first aid app – nearby!
And in case you’re in need of carving inspiration, here are a couple of ideas!