Safe pumpkin carving with small child.

Safety tips for pumpkin carving

This Halloween, don't let jack-o'-lantern carving get scary. Here's how to help avoid injury.

The combination of slippery pumpkins and sharp knives can be dangerous. Follow these tips below and other Halloween decorating safety tips, to help keep everyone safe this year.

Is there a minimum age for carving a pumpkin?

It is recommended that children ages 9 to 12 carve their own jack-o’-lantern, provided they have the skills and strength to safely utilize age appropriate pumpkin carving tools. While those younger should not do the actual pumpkin carving, they can still get in on the fun:

  • Search for pumpkin carving ideas based on the age of the child.
  • Have them draw the patterns for their pumpkins.
  • Allow them to decorate their pumpkins with markers, paint or non-carving decoration kits.
  • Let them clean out the seeds and pulp from inside the pumpkins.

If you decide to let your children carve pumpkins, closely supervise in case anything goes wrong.

When should I carve my pumpkin?

  • If the weather is cooler, you can carve your pumpkin up to seven days before Halloween.
  • If you or your child get tired while carving, put the pumpkin in the refrigerator and start again later.
  • A carved pumpkin usually lasts three to five days.

What pumpkin carving tools should be used?

Big kitchen knives aren't the best fit for this job. According to Consumer Reports, a pumpkin carving kit is a safer option. The tools in these kits are smaller and designed to easily pierce pumpkins, but not as sharp as your average kitchen knives.

  • Work slowly and steadily — don't rush the project.
  • Cut away from your body with the carving tool.

Pumpkin carving safety

Before you start carving, prepare your pumpkin carving area and tools. Make sure to follow proper technique to help avoid finger and hand injuries:

  • Use small, controlled motions when carving.
  • Work in a well-lit work area.
  • Keep your free hand out of the way to avoid mishaps.
  • Make sure the carving area is dry, well lit and on a stable surface.
  • Wash and dry all of your tools before carving.
  • Keep your hands clean and dry to avoid slipping.

If a minor injury would occur, rinse and clean the wound with warm water, applying pressure with a clean cloth. Seek medical attention if the bleeding doesn’t stop within 15 minutes, the cut is deep or may need stitches. For more serious injuries call 9-1-1.

Pumpkin carving tips

  • Select the right pumpkin, fresh with a flat bottom and sturdy stem.
  • Wash the pumpkin before carving to avoid mold.
  • Think of your design before picking out a pumpkin and trace your design.
  • Cinnamon on the lid will make it smell good.
  • Preserve it with petroleum jelly.
  • Scrape to 1" - 1 1/4" thin using an ice cream scoop to make creating the design easier.
  • Cut the bottom off because more gunk comes out.
  • If you cut a hole in the bottom, leave a hole at the top for ventilation if candles are used.

Don’t forget to save the seeds to roast later.

Safe pumpkin carving is just one key to a happy Halloween. Get more Halloween safety tips for a worry-free holiday from State Farm®.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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