When you’re designing a pumpkin, it’s important to keep a lot of different viewpoints in mind—the shape of the pumpkin, where it will be placed, and who is carving it. For example, if you’re a parent carving a pumpkin with a 3- to 5-year-old, you might not want to dictate a design at all. Just put down some newspaper, hand them a safe tool, and let them have at it.
Whatever they come up with will be much more creative, and much more fun, than forcing your small child to watch you painstakingly draw and cut out a silhouette of a cat on a broomstick. Will it be a tree? Will it be a ghost with chickenpox? “Whatever they create, you celebrate,” Hardin said.
But if you have bigger plans (and yes, more fine motor control), the next step is to consider where the pumpkin will be. If it’s going to be on a stoop by your door, orient the design closer to the top of the pumpkin, where people are actually going to be able to see it.
If you have an enormous pumpkin, keep in mind that for some reason, everyone kicks them! “If someone kicks it, then your new artist, who has worked so hard to create a beautiful pumpkin, will go inside the house to get a meat cleaver,” Hardin said. Secure your squash with a sign or another obstacle (and hide the sharp objects in your home).
Another trick Hardin suggests is to place the pumpkin in a yard or garden to watch it change as it starts to decompose. “If you do a face, they start to grow little beards, they start to distort in on themselves,” Hardin said. “But you don’t want it in your home. When they go to juice, they go to juice very quickly, and there’s a lot of juice in these guys.” If it decomposes in your yard, the pumpkin carcass can go towards fertilizing your garden or straight into the compost.
Lighting That Lantern