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Fix-It Chick: Carve a pumpkin like a pro this Halloween

Carving a pumpkin may be child’s play, but the tools employed to do so are best used by an adult.

Step 1: Choose a fresh, local pumpkin that will sit on a flat surface without rolling away. Look for pumpkins with unique bruises and imperfections to add personality to the final product. Keep in mind, pumpkins can be carved lying on their sides or even upside down if it behooves the creator.

Step 2: Cover a flat, level surface with newspaper and gather the necessary tools, including a sharp knife with a blade long enough to pierce the shell of the pumpkin. Serrated knives work well, and a knife with a flexible blade can come in handy. Special pumpkin-carving kits help when creating intricate patterns, and large spoons are a must for scraping out the pumpkin’s innards. A black marker and a cookie sheet round out the supply list.

Step 3: Begin by cutting off the pumpkin’s lid. Lids are typically cut around the stem of the pumpkin, leaving the stem to be used as a handle for the lid. Cutting off the bottom or back of the pumpkin can work as well. Cut into the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle to keep the lid from falling back into the pumpkin. Cut the edges of the lid with unique angles to make it easier to replace the lid after the carving is complete.

Step 4: Cut away the bottom half of the lid and set the lid off to the side.

Step 5: Pull the pumpkin seeds out of the pumpkin and place them on a cookie sheet for future roasting.

Step 6: Use a spoon to scrape the inside of the pumpkin until it is clean. Pile the waste onto the newspaper-covered surface.

Step 7: Wipe the outer shell of the pumpkin clean and draw the desired design on the pumpkin with a marker.

Step 8: Carve away the unnecessary pieces within the design.

Step 9: Add depth to the design by scraping off the top layer of pumpkin skin in some areas.

Step 10: Place a battery-operated candle inside the pumpkin and replace the lid.

Step 11: Roll up the newspaper and dispose of the waste.

Step 12: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Toss the seeds with some oil and seasoning and roast them in a single layer for 25 minutes.

— Have a question? Email Linda Cottin at hardware@sunflower.com.

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