It’s getting close to pumpkin carving time! It’s tempting to pull out your sharpest kitchen knife to get the job done, but you may want to think twice. Using your kitchen knives may lead to more serious injuries and can damage your knives at the same time. Use these tips to make sure carving your pumpkins is a fun & safe activity!
- Use the Right Tools – Instead of the knives in your kitchen, use the specialty tools in a pumpkin-carving kit—readily found online and in convenience stores and designed for pumpkin carving safety. These tools can saw through rinds, poke holes, and scoop out innards without being razor-sharp. The instruments are also generally small, which makes them easier to control than most knives and easier to use when making intricate cuts.
- Carve Your Pumpkin With Its Top On – That way you won’t be tempted to put your hand inside and cut toward your hand. Hold the top of the pumpkin to stabilize it and cutting with your carving instrument’s blade pointing down. Instead of removing the top of the pumpkin to scoop out the insides, think about cutting a hole in the bottom. If you’re using a candle inside your pumpkin, you can then place the carved pumpkin on top of the lit candle—rather than awkwardly reaching inside the pumpkin to light the candle.
- Keep Things Clean, Dry, and Bright – For pumpkin carving safety, work in a clean, dry, and well-lit area, keep your hands and tools clean and dry, and take your time.
- Don’t Let Kids Carve – Children 14 and younger can participate by drawing the pattern with a marker and cleaning out the pulp and seeds with their hands or a spoon—but make sure an adult does the actual cutting. It’s important to supervise older teens, too. Adolescents often become patients because parents think they’re responsible enough to be left on their own to carve pumpkins.
- Know First Aid – If you or a family member gets cut while carving a pumpkin, apply direct pressure to the injury using a clean, dry cloth. If bleeding doesn’t stop in 15 minutes, get to an emergency room or urgent-care clinic.
If you still decide to use your kitchen knives, be aware that you may cause permanent damage to them by putting more pressure on the handle and blade than they are made for. This can cause damage that may result in safety issues once they return for use in the kitchen.
Consumer Reports. Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips – Interview with Stuart J. Elkowitz, M.D., assistant clinical professor at NYU Langone Medical Center in the division of hand surgery.