Last Call: What’s the best way to carve a jack-o-lantern?

Fancy jack o’lanterns
Fancy jack o’lanterns
Photo: Anadolu Agency (Getty Images)

The Food Network’s Halloween Wars concluded last weekend with a victory for Team Mummies Rejects: pumpkin carver Daniel Miller, cake sculptor Hemu Basu, and sugar artist Steve Weiss. Over the course of the competition, the trio created, among other things, a “slavering werewolf and a possessed teddy bear... a tentacled sea monster and a fearsome man-eating turtle,” in the words of The Oklahoman, Miller’s local newspaper.

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Miller told The Oklahoman he began to educate himself in the art of 3D pumpkin carving after watching the first season of Halloween Wars back in 2011 and learning there was more to pumpkin art than just cutting out a face. After five tries, he was finally accepted on the show this year. Here are a few things he learned during his apprenticeship:

  • Use a heavy pumpkin.
  • Use a fresher pumpkin. (You can tell because the stem will be a brighter green.)
  • Use a weirder-looking pumpkin for better grotesque effects.
  • Do not use the pumpkin-carving tools you can buy at the grocery store. Go to an art supply store for sculptor tools instead.

What advice do you have to offer for your fellow pumpkin-carvers this Halloween? Share your tips—and pictures of your finest work—in the comments.

Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.

DISCUSSION

Nitelight62
Nitelight62

I find it’s easier if I practice for a few months on hitchhikers.....