Carving an artificial pumpkin is just as easy as carving a real pumpkin. And the best thing is, you can do it a month before Halloween if you want to get a jump on the holiday. After buying and attempting to carve real pumpkins for years, I finally made the jump to carving an artificial pumpkin. Here’s my experience in carving and using them.
Good Reasons for Carving an Artificial Pumpkin
- I’d rather carve an artificial pumpkin because I always felt bad carving a real one. It has something to do with the “starving children in name-a-country” guilt trip from childhood. Real pumpkins should be carved into, well, pumpkin pies, not Halloween Pumpkins. I’m sure that the plastics or whatever that are used to make an artificial pumpkin are not good for the environment, but I still feel better about the fact that I can carve my artificial pumpkin and keep it for years.
- Carving an artificial pumpkin allows you to start on it a month or even a year before Halloween. You know those incredible sales that Target and Michael’s have after Halloween when artificial pumpkins are 75% and 90% off retail? That’s the perfect time to purchase an artificial pumpkin and the carving tools and save it for next year. Or start right away when the cute facial expressions you saw on other pumpkins throughout the Halloween holiday are still fresh in your mind.
- If you carve an artificial pumpkin this year you can start a ghouly collection. Carve one, use it this Halloween, then pack it away and save it for next year. You can add to your pumpkin collection by purchasing a new artificial pumpkin to carve each year.
- Annoy your neighbors and put your artificial pumpkin out after Labor Dayand leave it out until Christmas. Well, you probably don’t really want to do that – but with an artificial pumpkin you could. If you are worried that carving an artificial pumpkin is just not the same tradition for your children, look at it another way. You can take your time and enjoy the event with your children because if you don’t get finished carving the artificial pumpkin you can complete the task another day. Not to mention, you aren’t dealing with those messy pumpkin guts. So less stress, less mess.
- While you are carving your artificial pumpkin, think about the next fall holiday, Thanksgiving. You can purchase an extra artificial pumpkin and carve a turkey, a cornucopia, or other Thanksgiving scene into it. In addition, if you carve happy or slightly goofy faces into your Halloween artificial pumpkins (instead of scary ones), they’ll still look just fine appearing with your Thanksgiving pumpkin, too. If you aren’t sure, just plop a Pilgrim’s hat on top of them and you’ll see, they’ll be just fine lined up for a Turkey dinner.
Tips for Using and Carving an Artificial Pumpkin
- Don’t expect to use a kitchen knife to carve an artificial pumpkin. It has been my experience that using the carving tools that you can purchase at the craft store especially for carving artificial pumpkins are the best way to go. You need to use a little back and forth sawing motion when carving with these tools and things will go much better for you and your pumpkin.
- Look for Halloween patterns to carve your artificial pumpkin at the Halloween web sites. Almost any pattern can be adapted for carving your artificial pumpkin. But it might be better if you started out with an easier pattern until you get the hang of using the carving tools. Just print out the pattern you like, enlarge or reduce it if necessary, and very lightly tape it to your artificial pumpkin. Actually, I like to use a little of that tacky putty to hold my pattern down while I transfer it to my pumpkin. Make tears into the paper around the edges to enable to fit to the pumpkin more smoothly. Use the small awl (or a nail) to prick holes into your artificial pumpkin, following the lines of your pattern.
- Carve your pattern on the smoothest and flattest side of your artificial pumpkin – especially if this is your first time carving an artificial pumpkin. Be sure you take your time while carving. Remember to use the sawing motion and stop, reposition the pumpkin, and change your sawing direction when you get to a corner.
Another great tip is to forget about sawing off the traditional top of your pumpkin. That’s a how a candle was traditionally inserted but it isn’t necessary for your artificial pumpkin. A much better idea is to make a hole for your light source in the bottom of the pumpkin. Saw a circle around the bottom of the artificial pumpkin, just as you would have traditionally done on the top. Don’t forget to saw a notch into this bottom “lid” so that you can put it back on your pumpkin. Don’t throw this part away. You should keep this bottom “lid” to keep your pumpkin whole – for those times you decide to display your pumpkin without a light source.
- One thing I don’ like about the artificial pumpkins is the manufacturing seam inside the pumpkin that often shows when you light them. A good way I’ve found to take care of this problem is to tape some of the colored wax or plastic film over the openings for the eyes, mouth – and nose if your pumpkin has one! Tape from the inside, of course, so that the edges of the film don’t show on the outside of your pumpkin. Depending on the color of paper you use, you’ll get a cool glowing effect for your pumpkin.
- If carving your artificial pumpkin still doesn’t give it enough pizazz, don’t forget you can paint it, too. Check with your craft store for the appropriate paint.
Tips for Displaying and Storing your Artificial Pumpkin
- The number one tip for displaying your artificial pumpkin is never, ever put a real lighted candle in your pumpkin. Always use the battery candles. Consider using more than one battery candle so that your artificial pumpkin shines brightly.
- Your artificial pumpkin will be gone with the windif you don’t weight it down. I learned this the hard way. Use double-sided tape or tacky putty if your pumpkin will be on a relatively smooth surface such as your porch or sidewalk. Or even a couple of large, smooth rocks can be used inside your artificial pumpkin if you are displaying it elsewhere. You could also add your pumpkin to an eerie scene by setting it in a “nest” of dead tree branches festooned with fake spider webs. Or drive a stake through it. Eeek!
- When you are done with your artificial pumpkin wipe off any dirt or leaves and be sure to wrap it in a towel. The towel will keep the dust off and provide a little protection from bumps and indentations. Don’t store your artificial pumpkin in the attic; it’s best to store your pumpkin at regular room temperature if at all possible.
That’s all there is to it. Carving an artificial pumpkin is as easy as carving a real one. Plus you’ll get to enjoy your handy work for more than one year.