Nothing can get your family in the Halloween spirit like carving a pumpkin together. To help ensure your children enjoy a fun and safe pumpkin-carving experience, we’ve put together this list of tips, tools, and general advice.
1. Pick a pumpkin that’s good for carving
A safe pumpkin-carving experience starts with choosing the right pumpkin. Here are a few tips for selecting the perfect one.
Ask your child help you find a pumpkin with smooth, less bumpy skin. A smooth pumpkin will be easier for them to draw on and safer for you to carve.
Avoid a pumpkin that feels heavy for its size. This can indicate thick walls that could be difficult to carve through.
Avoid any pumpkins with soft spots, which can indicate rotting.
Ask your child to help you “inspect” the pumpkin to be sure it doesn’t have any nicks or cuts that may make it vulnerable to infection.
A flat, front surface for carving will yield the best results.
2. Take precautions when carving
According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, Halloween often results in serious hand injuries — requiring three to four months for rehabilitation. To help avoid a trip to the ER, take these precautions when carving your pumpkin.
Use small, controlled motions.
Choose a location that is well lit and a work surface that’s sturdy.
Keep your hands and carving tools dry.
For added safety, leave the pumpkin top on so you don’t put your hand inside the pumpkin and risk cutting it.
Never let a young child carve a pumpkin. If you allow your older child to create a jack-o’-lantern, supply them with age-appropriate carving tools and supervise them closely.
3. Choose an easy design
To help keep your child’s interest, choose a design that’s easy to carve and won’t take long. Consider downloading a few pumpkin templates ahead of time, and let your child pick the one they like best.
4. Keep your kid occupied
While you’re carving, keep your child busy (and out of harm’s way) by letting them decorate a small pumpkin all their own. From covering the pumpkin in glitter or adorning it in rhinestones to transforming it into their favorite character, there’s a wealth of kid-friendly ways to decorate a pumpkin.
5. Clean up quickly
Pumpkin carving is fun, but it’s also messy — especially when kids are involved. Slippery pumpkin flesh or seeds may end up on the floor and cause a fall. To help minimize this risk, lay down newspaper or a disposable drop cloth under your work area, and pick it up as soon as you’re done carving.
6. Skip the candles
Burning candles are a potential fire hazard, and they can be especially dangerous to kids. This year, try illuminating your pumpkin with an LED tea light instead of a candle. Or, give your pumpkin extra pizzazz with a special effects battery operated light