The Best-looking Jack-O’-Lanterns on The Block
Bigstock.com/evgeny atamanenko

The Best-looking Jack-O’-Lanterns on The Block:

  1. Pick the prettiest. Large or small, you are looking for sturdy stems, no bruises and pumpkins that sit pretty. Place the pumpkins on a counter and stoop down to see how they look at eye level before you buy. Don’t carry them home by the stems, because they break easily.
  2. Timing is everything. The internet is thick with tips for preserving pumpkins longer. Don’t try them. Simply carve your pumpkins three to five days before Halloween for a still-standing-tall guarantee.
  3. Make cleanup a snap. The secret weapon for easy pumpkin-carving cleanup is probably out in your garage or shed. It’s a basic plastic tarp. Spread this timesaving savior inside on a cool day or outside on a warm day to contain your carving enthusiasm.
  4. Use the proper tools. The best devices for carving jack-o’-lanterns don’t live in your kitchen drawers. Knives slip and spoons bend, so resist the urge to dip into your cutlery and instead purchase sturdy metal pumpkin scoops and kid-friendly carving saws you can use year after year.
  5. Bigger is better. Enlarge designs for larger pumpkins. Use your home printer or stop by the local copy shop.
  6. Start at the top. For large pumpkins, make the opening big enough for your hand and cut it at a 45-degree angle so the top will nest in place, instead of falling through.
  7. Scrape, don’t dig. Don’t thin the walls of your pumpkin when scooping out the guts, so it will stay sturdy longer.
  8. Draw it first. Freehand designs are cute and classic and young children love them. Use a medium-point washable marker to draw your design and then wipe away any remaining marks after carving.

Beyond The Goofy Grin: 10 Playful Pumpkin Designs

10 Playful Pumpkin Designs

A traditional jack-o’-lantern design is great. But why not branch out? Here are some few dramatic, yet easy, designs for older kids and adults to try.

  1. Holier than thou. Use a power drill to make holes all over the sides and top
  2. Wordy gourd. Try “Boo!” or “Eek!” to get started.
  3. Fairy house village. Transform pumpkins of various sizes into a resort for magical creatures.
  4. Cookie-cutter face. Gently hammer metal cutters into your pumpkin with a rubber mallet.
  5. Diorama window. Cut a larger-than-usual opening to reveal a scene inside.
  6. Core curriculum. Use an apple corer to cut wider, spaced-out holes.
  7. Location identification. Put your house number pumpkin by the front door or mailbox.
  8. Tower of grins. Stack squat, multicolored jacks on top of each other for a wow effect.
  9. The monogrammed look. Carve one initial or up to three for a stately look.
  10. Mum’s the pumpkin. Carve an opening on top for a pot of mums or flower bouquet.

Read more:

Celebrating the Season with Kids in and around Washington, D.C.

Best Pumpkin Patches Near D.C.

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