You’ve seen what I do when I have to carve a pumpkin in a hurry, but this year I had plenty of time to make a nice jack-o-lantern for Halloween, and I did so this week. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve known that the first step to any pumpkin carving session was to cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin so you can clean out the seeds and guts inside. But why the top?
Besides convention and tradition, there’s no reason why the hole has to be on the top of the pumpkin. I’d like to suggest instead that you make the hole in the bottom of the pumpkin. It makes such a big difference!
- It looks better. This is an easy one. Of course your jack-o-lantern is going to look better if you don’t have to cut a hole in the top of it!
- Room for error. How many times have you cut the hole from the top and then found that it’s not big enough, not round enough, or had some other issue that made you wish you could re-cut it? Except you can’t re-cut it, because then the plug won’t fit back on top. If your hole is in the bottom, though, you don’t even need to save the plug, so who cares what it looks like!
- More stable candle platform. Most folks may use safer alternatives like a battery operated lights to make their scary faces glow, but I like to go “old school” and use a real candle (which I watch carefully during trick-or-treat hours!). To me, nothing replaces the gentle flicker of a tealight candle inside the pumpkin, but often I find that the bottom of the pumpkin isn’t flat enough to make a nice level surface to put the candle on. However, if your pumpkin has no bottom, and you’re setting it right on the concrete porch or steps of your house, you’ve got the perfect stable and flat surface!
- Easier to add your light. No matter what kind of light you’re using in your pumpkin, it’s a lot easier to set the light on the floor and put the pumpkin over top of it than it is to stick your arm down into the gooey, sticky guts of the pumpkin to try to get that light straight. This is especially great if you use a candle, which can be hard to light from the top.
Okay, there is one little downside to this, I have to admit. If your hole is in the bottom, don’t leave the pumpkin sitting on your porch for weeks. When it begins to rot, you’ll end up with goo on the porch that might be hard to wash off. This technique works best for pumpkins that are only going to be outside for a week or less
So get out there and carve your pumpkins into fun or scary faces, and consider starting from the bottom instead of the top. And if you come up with an awesome jack-o-lantern, we’d love for you to share photos of it with everyone in our new Flickr pool!