Pumpkin carving is just one of the many fun things to do with the kids during Halloween season. It can be a family activity, but most parents are concerned about the younger children handling a sharp knife, and with due concern. Here are a few safety tips that I thought would come in handy for pumpkin carving this year:
Everyone should respect the sharpness of a knife, but children need to be taught a few basic safety rules when handling a knife. First, always hold a knife with the point away from you. Next, keep your free hand away from the pointed end of the knife. When using the knife, use slicing motions and never force the knife.
Now that the kids know the rules and adults have had a refresher course on basic knife safety, let’s continue.
Always have an adult present when carving pumpkins with sharp knives. This rule should apply to all ages, even teenagers. We all know that accidents happen and it only takes a moment to sever a finger.
Prepare Your Space
Choose an area with good lighting that is also dry to be your pumpkin carving station. Make sure all of your tools are clean and dry. Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly. We do not want any little or big hands slipping and possibly getting cut!
Plan for the Smaller Children
Since pumpkin carving is an event that all the children look forward to, you need to be prepared and have “jobs” for the younger children to do as well. For instance, you don’t want children under 5-6 handling a sharp knife. However, they can help in the clean up process and also decorate mini pumpkins with markers while you are carving the big pumpkin. They can make designs of their own or simply follow the lead in the actual carving. Smaller children may also enjoy decorating a small pumpkin with Halloween stickers. The little pumpkins look great sitting along side larger ones.
Authentic Pumpkin Carving Tools
The safest way to carve a pumpkin is to use special tools designed to carve pumpkins. However, you may be an ace with your butcher knife, but you may want to consider purchasing a pumpkin carving tool kit if you plan to carve a pumpkin or two each year. The investment will be well worth it in convenience and piece of mind. Using a tool kit also reduces the number of injuries and the severity of injuries.
Lighting the Pumpkin
Now you are all finished carving the pumpkin and are ready to light it up. There are a couple of options here and the safest method is to use a battery operated candle. If you want to use a real candle, a votive candle works best as it is short and thick. Make sure your pumpkin is placed on a sturdy table outside or on the porch. You should also have an adult present to light the pumpkin and stay while the pumpkin is lit. Lighting up a pumpkin indoors is not a good idea. You have an instant fire hazard with the curtains catching fire, forgetting the candle is burning, etc.
Now that your pumpkin is all carved up, it is ready for display and your enjoyment. Happy Halloween!