With less than a week until Halloween, it’s time for that annual task of pumpkin carving. Some folks dread it because it can be a huge mess, not to mention a total pain, but what would Halloween be without a jack-o-lantern decorating the porch? A lot less fun, that’s what. Fortunately, Barbara “Babs” Costello, known as the Internet’s grandmother thanks to her social media tips, shares hacks to make the job faster and easier in a new video. Here are her best pumpkin carving pointers:
- Give the pumpkin a seat … on your lap - Babs says you’ll have a much easier time cutting, drawing and carving your pumpkin when it’s steady on your lap, rather than on top of a table with you standing over it.
- Trace your design first - Pro pumpkin carvers swear by this, but Babs kicks it up a notch by using a red dry erase marker to draw the design on. She explains that you can get rid of the lines afterwards and that anything that doesn’t wipe off will blend in better than a black marker or pencil would.
- Go from the bottom up - Most of us cut a hole at the top, where the stem is, but Babs recommends cutting a wider hole at the bottom of the pumpkin instead. “That way you have the stem to hold onto and you can easily slip the pumpkin right over a candle or flashlight,” she explains.
- Get rid of pumpkin guts quicker - Dig through the box of seldomly used kitchen tools and find that old hand mixer. Then use it to loosen up all the strings, seeds and pumpkin goo so you don’t have to use your hands. Babs says, “It literally cuts the job in half.
- Cut it out - If you’re spooked by using a knife to cut your design out, this grandma suggests using cookie cutters and a soft-headed mallet hammer to bust out the shapes.
- Glossify your pumpkin in Vaseline - Babs gives her jack-o-lanterns a once-over using Vaseline to cover the open and cut parts. This will keep it moist and help it last for a week or two, Babs says.
- Spice it up - This pumpkin pro’s last tip is to sprinkle a little cinnamon inside the pumpkin “for a festive pumpkin spice smell when a candle is lit inside.”