I always get a little stressed out at this time of year when I am faced with carving my Halloween Jack o' Lantern. I mean, it's so easier to screw it up, and you can't really hide your mistakes. But I found some help!

Garden & Gun Magazine has some pumpkin carving tips from a pro that are completely awesome, and I can't wait to try them. Tom Boozer was a low country decoy carver, and his daughter Jess Pahl is definitely following in his footstep with these amazing ways to carve the best Halloween pumpkin on the block.. Let me know if any of these have worked for you.

  • Trace your design before you start.. Don't just think you can free hand a stellar pumpkin design. You need a plan, and some dots to help you dig in. Unless you're a professional artist, this will probably be the best strategy for you.
  • Shade is a good thing. You don't have to cut all the way through every time. Cutting half way through the pumpkin makes for a really beautiful shaded outline. And it looks like you actually know what you're doing!
  • Dunk your pumpkin. I can't wait to see if this works. After your design is done, dunk the entire pumpkin in a mixture of one gallon of water, and one teaspoon of bleach. Let it dry upside down. This will kill any bacteria that could potentially grow inside your masterpiece before you're ready to get rid of it.
  • Use Vaseline to seal your design. Grab a jar of Vaseline, or any petroleum jelly, and rub some along the cut edges of your pumpkin. This keeps it from drying out and decaying.
  • Keeping your pumpkin fresh is easier than you think. Drop one of those little silica gel packs into your pumpkin, but not near any kind of flame. It sucks up all the moisture, which means your Halloween treasure will remain fresh longer.