New Generation Of Carvers Go For Dramatic, Intricate Designs
Carving Now Involves Fancy Tools & Techniques
A generation ago, carving a pumpkin for Halloween was a simple task. With the help of their parents, all children created jack-o’-lanterns with the same facial features – triangular eyes and matching nose, a goofy, semi-toothy grin. Then, they plopped in a candle, set the pumpkin on the porch and headed off to roast the seeds for an afternoon snack. It’s a tradition familiar to many, captured in old pictures that would be great candidates for scanning photographs onto CD, something for the next generation of carvers to enjoy.
Today, Crate & Barrel sells eight-piece carving and stencil sets, grocery stores and nurseries stock dozens of varieties of gourds, and some Web sites exist solely to showcase the increasingly creative art of pumpkin carving. Carving is now an exciting, innovative hobby; some might even call it a sport, with special tricks and tools for achieving dramatic results. Just look at this particular pumpkin, which features three-foot flames shooting out of the opening – that’s not a tea light in there!
But the more outlandish today’s jack-o’-lanterns become, the more nostalgic it may make earlier generations for the past, when simplicity ruled. This would be a great time to dust off the old pictures to compare. After you have transferred the photographs onto CD, they’ll be easy to share with your children. Then you can browse endless photo galleries of amazing carved pumpkins online together.
Encourage children to think simple when they first start carving. (Kids who are too young to handle a knife can participate by drawing on faces with thick markers.) A wealth of tips, such as securing your pumpkin and removing the stem prior to carving, is available on the Internet. As your little carvers become more skilled, allow them to explore the use of stencils and patterns. This particular pumpkin, called the Flaming Head, was made with a Head On Fire pattern.
Take pictures every year to document your children’s work. When they become parents themselves, they’ll be interested in looking back on their handiwork.