For many, carving pumpkins is an annual tradition. However, pumpkins can be slippery, tough and difficult to work with…let alone create a design on.
This Halloween, keep these safety tips in mind when you’re carving your pumpkin masterpiece:
Prep your pumpkin and carving area. Keep your pumpkin dry so it doesn’t slip out of your hands when carving. Place newspaper under your pumpkin and have paper towels handy. Also make sure your carving area is well-lit.
Pick up the proper tools. Sharper isn’t always better. According to Jeffrey Wint, M.D., American Society for Surgery of the Hand: “A sharper knife often becomes wedged in the thicker part of the pumpkin, requiring force to remove it and could result in injury if your hand is in the wrong place.” Plastic tools, like those found in pumpkin carving kits, are less likely to get stuck and aren’t sharp enough to cause a deep cut.
Leave carving to the adults. Allow the kids to trace their design and dig out the seeds and pumpkin “guts.” When it comes to actually carving the design, the adult should take the reins.
Have a first-aid kit handy. Should an accident happen while carving, apply direct pressure to the injury with a dry, clean cloth. If bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes, you may need to seek medical attention.
Keep your options open. There are other, safer ways to decorate pumpkins. Cookie cutters or melon ballers can create fun shapes and designs without the use of a sharp knife. Or nix the carving all together and paint your pumpkin. Make it the ultimate arts and crafts project by using googly eyes, stickers or markers to decorate your pumpkin.
Be careful with the candle flame. It’s so exciting to finally finish your carving and put a candle inside as the finishing touch, but remember to be extra careful handling an open flame, no matter how small. Any candle bares the risk of becoming a fire hazard, so never leave a candle unattended and keep them away from small children. Follow these candle safety tips before setting your jack-o-lantern aglow this Halloween. Or, for a safer alternative, consider purchasing flameless battery-operated tealight candles.
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It’s the perfect time to remind ourselves to plan ahead for the ones we love.