Pumpkin Carving Tips From Maniac Pumpkin Carvers

Stumped on just how to create unique jack-o-lantern designs with your little ones that are captivating but still easy enough for kids to help with? Fear not! Our friends at Brooklyn’s own Maniac Pumpkin Carvers let us in on some insider tips to have the hippest gourd on the block this year. Plus–looking for even more Halloween fun? Check out our guides to both spooktacular events and family fun!

Hip new designs for Halloween 2013:
This year pumpkins carved with portraits of people are really popular as well as logos of peoples favorite sports teams and companies.  We’ve also seen a big increase in requests for things like wedding proposals, save the dates, and baby announcements!

Best spot in the NYC area to pick a pumpkin?
Our favorite spot in NYC to score beautiful pumpkins is always the GrowNYC Union Square Greenmarket. There are always a variety of great farms there like Sycamore, Maxwell’s, and S & SO. These guys all grow beautiful carving pumpkins as well as other heirloom varieties. We love picking their brains all about gourds.

Your favorite cool carving technique that families can safely replicate at home?
Using a few basic tools available at most craft stores you can greatly improve your carvings. A craft knife (like an x-acto), a linoleum cutter, and some transfer paper are great tools to use. Always sketch out your ideas on paper first (or print out something you like from online and use it to trace from). Then use transfer paper (like carbon paper) to get your design onto the pumpkin. Now you can follow the lines using your knives and cutters. Work on the more intricate areas first and then work your way around to the easier sections.

Any tips on using linolium carvers on pumpkins?
Linoleum cutters are one of our favorite tools for the etched style of pumpkins! The blades however are very sharp so please use caution. Always carve pushing away from you and ensure that your hand that is not holding the blade is out of the line of fire. It’s better to turn the pumpkin than to have the blade at an awkward angle or pushing toward yourself. Additionally, sharp blades are safer than dull ones because they tend to slip less, so replace the old ones regularly.

Any tips for using mini pumpkins in Halloween decor?
The little minis are hard to do [carve details on], but you can turn them into cool votives or mini jack o lanterns. It’s also fun to glue decorations like eyes or fangs onto them!