~ Glitter Pumpkins, although quite satiating for a woman’s desire for pumpkin decor, will not qualify as true pumpkin decorating to the man of the household.

~ Especially when that man of the household is 34 years old and has never carved a pumpkin in his life, and is itching to give it a try, now that he has a three-year-old excuse to do so. (I was previously unaware that you could make it to 34 without carving a pumpkin.)

~ There’s not nearly as much goop in a pumpkin as I remembered from my childhood.

~ But the goop that IS in a pumpkin is QUITE unwilling to let loose it’s spiderweb-like hold onto the sides of the pumpkin, unless you give up on the spoon and actually dig it out with your fingers.

~ Said goop doesn’t like to come off of hands. An alternating pattern of wet wipes and paper towels, although creating a voluminous pile of orangey paper products, will, eventually, convince goop to turn loose.

~ Pumpkin guts are NOTHING like Libby’s Mashed Pumpkin.

~ Desiring to use pumpkin guts in a recipe that calls for Libby’s Mashed Pumpkin, although idealistic, fall-like, thrifty, and seemingly quite doable, is not at all doable, as a) the pumpkin goop is minimal, and b) neither the goop OR the meaty sides of the pumpkin have anything in common with Libby’s Mashed Pumpkin, so you will have no idea how to turn any product from a real pumpkin into Libby’s Mashed Pumpkin.

~ Store clerks will not laugh at you when you return bashfully to the store to buy Libby’s Mashed Pumpkin.

~ But you might feel like a wasteful failure of a domesticated woman.

~ Kids that are absolutely obsessed with pumpkins,IMG_1204

but completely afraid of knives, will agree to try exactly one downward stroke of knife into pumpkin, IMG_1206
at which point they will be so freaked out when their hand hits the pumpkin because they’ll think that the knife hit their hand and they’ve mortally wounded themselves and will soon be “blooding” all over the place that they will insist on being on scooping goop duty only for the duration of the pumpkin carving activity.IMG_1213

~ But that’s okay, because their Pumpkin-Carving-Newbie Daddy will be happy to finish.


~ Pumpkin carving templates change everything. It turns a childhood-failure-of-a-pumpkin-carver like myself into a very shocked and surprised near-pro.

~ Templates are also great for entertaining scared-of-knives kid. Because same said kid is, ironically, not at all afraid of scissors, and will be glad to trash-into-a-million-piececs all unused templates.IMG_1217

~ The three-year-old ego is an amazingly fantastic thing. Even though said kid only made one downward slice with the knife, they will be as proud of their pumpkins as if they had carved them completely by hand, using only their fingernails and teeth, and with no magical template at all.



~ You will find orange pumpkin splatters on all three of your foreheads, arms, eyelashes, and hair for days to come. Because that stuff – it doesn’t like to turn loose.

18 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from Pumpkin Carving.

  1. I LOVE carving pumpkins, especially removing of the goop! The pumpkin scraper works really well at detaching said goop from the side of the pumpkin. I look forward to pumpkin carving all year long and sadly, my husband will only carve if I absolutely beg him to. :(

  2. I made glitter pumpkins this weekend! I went for the all over glitter! I'll have to show you a picture! Your carvings turned out great!

  3. You need to splurge on the pumpkin scraper. They're cheap and get the job done. Love the pumpkins! Too cute. If if makes you feel better, the "goop" is not what is in Libby's. It is the sides, peeled, boiled or steamed, and mashed. It is also a different kind of pumpkin. You would want to buy "baking pumpkins." Feel better now?

  4. Please don't feel bad – yo uknow that I am ALL about the natural, but I do not do the pumpkin goo. I just go for the canned. I know. I am a disgrace.
    And you have to have a 3 year old excuse? I don't even do halloween and my husband has been carving his lone little pumpkin since we got married. He just can't let go…
    P.S. – maybe to redeem my natural ways, I DO toast the seeds and eat them!

  5. If you scoop the goopy/seedy/spiderwebby part out of the pumpkin, cut it in half, place it on a baking sheet and bake it at 400 for about 60 minutes you will have the stuff that comes in the Libby's cans. You just have to peel the outer layer off and blend it up. It is really good, too. The goopy stuff can just be thrown out.

  6. We don't do Halloween really, but do occasionally carve pumpkins. My husband swears by power tools, sevifically the dremel (and yes, they make special pumpkin carving dremel attachments).

    The goo doesn't become anything edible unless you are a fan of pumpkin seeds, in which case you spread it out on a baking sheet and toast them. But the wall of the pumpkin is VERY edible. The smaller "pie" pumpkins are what are usually used for commercial canned pumpkins because they are sweeter and have a smoother texture, but any pumpkin works. The secret is to roast or steam the pumpkin until it is so soft that it can be easily stirred into the consistency of apple sauce. The skin easily peels off at that point. Fresh pumpkin is WAY better than the canned stuff too.

  7. Thanks for making me feel better about my wasteful pumpkin usage!

    We DID toast the seeds – they were quite delicious! Except on the second day – then they tasted just like stale popcorn.

  8. I cannot believe Chris has never carved pumpkins!!! How is that possible?? Where did he grow up?? I'm glad you finally rectified his sad situation. :)

    My husband LOVES pumpkin pie, but only the canned stuff. I tried, several different times, to make it fresh from a real pumpkin and he says the canned stuff is way better so I gave up. I don't like pumpkin stuff anyway, so I'm happy that he likes the easier stuff. :)

    I was supposed to get pumpkins last week but it looks like we'll be carving last minute this year. Do you have the book My Happy Pumpkin by Crystal Bowman? My mom bought it for K at the Christian book store and it is SO sweet. Great to read while carving pumpkins!

    Wow. This is the longest comment ever. :)

  9. I am 57 years old and have never carved a pumkin and now that I think about it is very sad. Love the blog.

  10. I haven't ever carved a pumpkin before & I'm pretty sure Ryan hasn't either :)
    The pumpkins look great, Chris is an old pro already!

  11. I love the toasted pumpkin seeds, and love carving the pumpkins although I haven't in a couple of years.

    And for the record in case you didn't know. You have to bake the pumpkin after scraping all the goo out to get the Libby type filling. That stuff is the actually pumpkin baked and mashed up.

    My mom and sister both used to bake the pumpkins and then make pies.

  12. I need to hurry and put up my tutorial of how to make pumpkin like the Libby's, huh? It's much easier than you think!

    I love the pumpkins!!!!!! And I think your glitter pumpkins were awesome!

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