The dark night of Halloween beckons all the living to grab a sharp knife and hack away at a gourd. Get the tips and the tricks below and the best part is that you cannot mess up – the weirder and wretcheder, the better! Let's start with the basics:
Free Pumpkin Patterns
To get you started, here are some easy patterns to download, print, and carve. Pick a pumpkin below and click to download a PDF.
ZombiePumpkins.com is your best source for pumpkin carving patterns. Sign up for a membership (as low as $2), choose from hundreds of patterns, download, print and start carving! Get started with the free "Twilight Flight" pattern above!
Once you have your pattern, print it out (inkjet works best) on Stick 'n Carve transfer paper from Sulky. The revolutionary paper sticks onto the pumpkin letting you carve right through it. When you're done, simply rinse off the remnants! See tutorials and shop for value packs.
To prepare your pumpkin for carving, get The Pumpkin Gutter. This $12 tool attaches to your cordless drill and helps you gut a pumpkin in seconds! It will also thin walls for easier carving. See videos, tips and tricks at getcarvingquicker.com.
Pumpkin Carving Inspiration
At first glance, pumpkin carving may not sound like "art" but people across the country have elevated this seasonal craft into something spectacular. Take a look at these gourd-ful sites for inspiration, tricks, and how-to tips. You can even learn how to grow your own pumpkins (spoiler alert: lots of sun, water and fertilizer).
Punkin Chunkin: The Official Sport of Autumn
Fall may be dominated by football but at the tail end of October another sport takes the country by storm: Punkin Chunkin'. Pumpkins are hurled through the air by a variety of means from slingshots to catapults to pneumatic cannons in competitions around the country.
The oldest and largest annual competition is held by World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) in Sussex County, Delaware just after Halloween. Teams compete for 3 days in various divisions based on their mechanical method. There's even a theatrical division which relies completely on fan votes.
Many factors go into the range achieved by the flying gourds: mass, shape, size, pitch, elevation and, of course, the weather. Also a factor is the variety of pumpkin since the rinds must be thick enough to withstand the force of the hurling. As a standard rule, pumpkins must remain intact during the launch and flight, otherwise they are branded "pie in the sky" – which happens to be the title of the book endorsed by WCPCA.
The current WCPCA world record is held by Team Young Glory III who air shot a pumpkin 4,383 feet in 2008. In 2008, the Science Channel began airing annual specials. Coverage expanded over the subsequent years as the specials have become the highest rated program on the channel. Several DVDs and digital downloads are also available. Visit PunkinChunkin.com