We're sharing one of our favorite pumpkin carving hacks: a scraping technique to make your Halloween pumpkins last longer. Instead of using traditional pumpkin carving techniques, this cat Halloween stencil is scraped, which means less of the pumpkin's inner rind is exposed to air so the pumpkin stays fresh longer.
Scraped pumpkins should last up to a week in cool and dry environments (we recommend keeping pumpkins out of direct sunlight during the day), but there are a few steps you can take to make sure your creation stays fresh as long as possible. Directly after scraping your design, spray a kitchen cleaner or mild bleach solution directly onto the scraped surface—this prevents any pesky mold spores from forming, keeping the rind sturdy. Rubbing plain petroleum jelly on the scraped portion of your pumpkin also postpones wilting by creating a barrier between the pumpkin rind and the oxygen in the air around it. If you use extra products on your design, we recommend keeping the pumpkin away from candles to avoid a potential fire hazard. Planning to make more pumpkin creations this season? These tips work for carved pumpkins, too!
We recommend choosing a pumpkin with a smooth surface for this carving—the scraping technique is more difficult on uneven or warty pumpkins. Because the carving is a circle, you can use any shaped pumpkin and resize the stencil to fit. To make the design larger or smaller, adjust the zoom function on your printer settings. When you've printed the stencil and picked the perfect pumpkin, cut a hole in the base of the pumpkin and scoop out the insides until the rind is clean. Cutting a hole in the base rather than the top keeps the visible parts of the pumpkin looking nice longer. Plus, it's easy to set the pumpkin directly on top of a lit candle so that the open base sits around the candle, rather than having to light a candle inside a pumpkin that's been carved from the top.
Using our free cat pumpkin stencil, trace the outline of the design onto your pumpkin with a poking tool designed for pumpkin carving. If you don't have this tool, you can use a crafts needle or a thumbtack for this step. Use a scraping tool designed for pumpkin carving to scrape the area between the cat's outline and the circle, using long, thin movements. We scraped about 1/4 of an inch down from the orange surface of the rind—you'll want to scrape enough of the rind to let light show through, without scraping so far that the inner rind breaks. When you're done, add a candle and put your pumpkin carving on display!