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Jack-o'-lantern FAQ

What do you use to carve these?
You know those little pumpkin-carving kits they sell around Halloween? The funny-looking saws with the orange plastic handles? That's what I use. I tried using knives for a while before I finally decided to try a pumpkin saw, and was amazed with how much easier the pumpkin saw made things. Of course, you still have to have a good pattern.

Where do you get a good pattern?
Well, I design my own. I use ink drawings, photos, and images found on the Internet, and then Photoshop them to make them a simple black-and-white image. I now use a little opaque projector to project the image on the pumpkin. It's a little tricky keeping my shadow out of the way but it lets me get a more precise image.

Do you sell jack-o'-lantern patterns?
As a matter of fact, I do. If you're interested, send me an email and I can send you a pattern for one of the pumpkins I've carved before, or custom-design one if you prefer.

How long do the pumpkins last?
In 2004 I started spraying the insides of the pumpkins with a bleach solution, and they last much longer that way. Some of the ones I carved lasted about two weeks with the bleach solution.

Hey, some of these jack-o'-lanterns have "floating" black sections! How is that possible?
Those are made by scraping away the skin of the pumpkin without cutting all the way through. I tried this for the first time in 2004 and liked the way they turned out (the Thundercats pumpkin, for instance) but it takes much longer to carve.

Boy, you carved a lot of pumpkins in 2004, but none in 2003. What's up with that?
Well, in 2003 I was in China with my family all month, and got back too late to carve any pumpkins. So I made up for that in 2004. I did a few in late September and early October to advertise my pumpkin-carving, and then went to Last Thursday in October with ten jack-o'-lanterns for sale. I ended up with a bunch left to use on my own steps for Halloween, but it was a lot of fun coming up with ideas.

[posted 2.5.05 and pre-dated for archiving reasons]

October 01, 1999


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