Carving pumpkins in October is a long held tradition among American children. You can get child safe pumpkin carving kits at most grocery stores, but sometimes the best tools are right in your own kitchen already. While most would consider pumpkin carving a muggle project, it’s actually quite enchanted, if you want it to be.
The history of carving pumpkins into jack o’ lanterns originated in Ireland, but instead of pumpkins they used turnips. Pumpkins certainly are a lot easier to carve and since they grow so large we can give them huge cheesy grins or ferociously frightening faces.
The intention of carving scary faces is to ward off evil spirits. Placing the candle inside illuminates the faces at night, but even the candle can be a charmed part of your magical squash.
I’ve been carving pumpkins since I was a kid, as most of you probably have. I’ve tried the safety carving kits from the stores but they don’t really work as efficiently as what I have in my own kitchen.
Nothing can take the place of a good sharp knife to remove the top. I found that removing the pulp from inside works best with a metal measuring cup. I have a set that has a thin edge so they scrape very well and since they’re metal they are far more sturdy than the plastic scoops that come in the kits.
Once you remove all the pulp and seeds you can draw lightly, on the best side of the pumpkin, with a pencil. I use a small pairing knife to make the initial cuts. If you cut slowly you should be able to remove the pieces without messing up the design. Smaller knives work better than large ones, unless your pumpkin is quite thick. That’s when we use a reciprocating saw like this one.
Once your entire design is done you can immerse your pumpkin in a dilution of bleach and water to prevent rot that attracts insects. It will help to repel gnats from attacking it in your yard. Let the pumpkin dry thoroughly!
Now you can begin your enchantment! You can work with a humor charm or a protection spell. Here are the supplies you’ll need for a protection spell.
- 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf (write a word on the leaf with a marker that corresponds with the spell you’re casting)
I’m not going to give you any words for the spell as the best words are the ones that come from your own mind and spirit.
Directions: Sprinkle the cinnamon into the empty pumpkin and speak your words while sprinkling. With each clove you add, speak your words as they drop in. While adding the bay leaf, speak your words. Finalize your spell while speaking your final words over the pumpkin as you place the top on.
Now set your pumpkin on your porch or in your garden. At night, place a tea light candle (or 2 or 3) inside. I use tea light candles so the flame is low enough in the pumpkin to avoid burning the inside of the top. You can add even more magic by speaking more words over the candles as you light them. Even better would be to use tea light candles that are already infused with magical elements.
I hope your October festivities are well protected and filled with lots of fun and magic! Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain!