As the nights get longer and the temperatures begin to plummet, October is very nearly over and that means one thing; Halloween.

One of the most famous traditions is that of carving pumpkins, with everyone attempting to carve away at the orange flesh to achieve a ghoulish smile, or perhaps a more artistic figure is what you have in mind.

Either way, proper technique is key to achieving the perfect pumpkin carving, and we’re here to teach you how.

Choosing a pumpkin

We’ve all suffered through the ordeal of picking out a nice, large pumpkin, only to get it home and find it almost impossible to carve into accurately.

When choosing a pumpkin, ensure it has a flat bottom. Otherwise, it will roll as you carve, ruining your perfect plans. Make sure your pumpkin is firm and looks fresh, ideally choosing one with a longer stem, as this will help when taking the lid off.

The right tools

You can find pumpkin carving tools stocked nationwide, increasingly in large retailers. These are ideal for achieving the perfect carving, but if you end up just using a knife, try to use one with a serrated blade, as this will help make the carving easier.

Cutting off the lid

Cutting off the lid is considerably easier, and more effective, when done at an angle. A straight cut will only lead to frustration as the lid is more likely to drop into the mushy interior of the pumpkin.

Scooping out the inside

Remove the seeds and soft ‘flesh’ from inside the pumpkin. This is made considerably easier through the use of an ice cream scoop or something similar, although we think nothing truly compares to the childlike joy of getting your hands inside and pulling it all out.

Pre-draw your design

Before beginning to carve the pumpkin, draw your design onto it with a pen. This will make it much simpler than hacking and hoping for the best, and besides, I’m sure the Mona Lisa wasn’t done on Da Vinci’s first attempt.

Start cutting

Now that you’ve planned and designed your ideas, you’re ready to begin carving. It’s important to cut straight, as doing so at an angle will make it much messier and less accurate. If you were to accidentally cut off a piece you weren’t supposed to, just pop it back on with a cocktail stick (trust us, it works).

Light it up

Congratulations, you’ve carved the perfect pumpkin (probably). It’s now time to put some lights inside – we recommend using tealights, for a more traditional look, and because they are conveniently sized. Be careful though, it can be hard to light them inside the pumpkins due to a lack of room, and you need to ensure they are not a fire hazard.

Display your masterpiece

You’re finished! Now place your pumpkin on display. Put it somewhere it will be seen and display it with pride, you’ve done a wonderful job!