Click on any of the topics below for helpful Halloween tips. Have questions? Email me!

Pumpkin Preservation:
The most frequently asked question I get is “how do you get your pumpkins to last?” Here in Las Vegas, an organic pumpkin can wither overnight if not treated carefully. In other areas, rot and mold can also make short work of a nice jack-o-lantern. Thankfully, I’ve learned a few tricks to keep pumpkins nice for several days so you can enjoy your jack-o-lantern for as long as possible.
Organic Pumpkins:
All of the natural pumpkins I carve will have the cut edges treated with petroleum jelly to help minimize moisture loss. In addition to moisture, the petroleum jelly gives a nice clean, glossy shine to the pumpkin. Do not eat any natural pumpkins treated in this manner!

In addition, once you get your pumpkin home, make sure to soak it for a few hours a day in cold water that has been mixed with a small amount of bleach.

(I usually use one tablespoon of bleach for every three gallons of water.)

The bleach will help prevent mold and rot, and the water will re-hydrate your jack-o-lantern – pumpkins often come out of their soak looking just like they did when freshly cut! And again, do not eat natural pumpkins that have been bleach-treated.

The cycle of drying and re-hydrating will eventually warp your design and can cause cracking or distortion. Even so, a well-cared-for natural pumpkin can last for 5-8 days, on average.

Synthetic Pumpkins:
Although synthetic pumpkins don’t light up quite as nicely or permit the same elaborate designs that organic pumpkins do, they can last forever, retaining a nice, crisp, clean appearance. If you want your purchase to last year after year, or if you just don’t like to deal with the mess of organic pumpkin, synthetic pumpkins are perfect for you!

The cut edges of your synthetic pumpkin are delicate. When storing your synthetic pumpkin, take care not to package them with any pressure against the cut face of the jack-o-lantern.

Dust can also gather inside your synthetic pumpkin. To prevent this, loosely wrap your pumpkin in plastic – grocery bags work well for this – and place inside another container, such as a cardboard box. Light padding, such as newspaper, will prevent the pumpkin from bumps and jiggles which could crack your jack-o-lantern design.
Lights and Illumination:

Organic pumpkins:
Votive candles give excellent organic jack-o-lanterns an excellent bright glow, perfect for illuminating little details. Always be cautious with open flames and melted wax, however. Electronic pumpkin lights are an excellent substitute for customers concerned about lighting pumpkin with candles.

Synthetic pumpkins:
Synthetic pumpkins are made from a flammable foam. NEVER use candles, open flame or hot lights to illuminate a synthetic pumpkin! Several stores carry cool LED lights specifically for lighting foam pumpkins; however any cool electronic tea light will work.

For an additional $3, you can add an electric tea light to your HauntedCarving.com order!

Still can’t get enough of cool jack-o-lanterns? Neither can I! Check out these sites:
Extreme Pumpkins
Pumpkin Gutter
Pumpkin Way


My Process:
I use several computer techniques to create, re-size and print a custom pattern onto paper. Once I'm confident that the pattern will perfectly fit its pumpkin, I'll carefully stencil the pattern onto to the pumpkin using artist's wax transfer paper. I will make small adjustments to the stencil as I transfer it – making sure the ridges, bumps and curves of the pumpkin don't distort the design significantly.

The transfer process can take more than an hour for a complex design, and I don't make a single cut until I've completed the stencil. Once the stencil's on, if the pumpkin's natural, I'll gut and clean it – if it's synthetic, I can begin carving. Different tools are used for each type of pumpkin, and my collection includes everything from plastic saws to clay modeling tools.

I always start with the hardest parts first – the fine details and tiniest carvings are easier to make in the very early stages of the pumpkin. I will often move all around the pumpkin as I carve working from the smallest, most detailed cuts up to the largest and most simple cuts.

And I take my time. Although a simple pumpkin can be done in 30 minutes or less, complex, two-tone patterns take 7-9 hours to stencil and carve. They are true labors of love.
Availability:
Synthetic pumpkins are available for order all year round depending on the number of synthetic pumpkins I am able to stock pile after the holidays.

Organic pumpkins I can start carving the moment the pumpkin patches go up- until your Halloween festivities are over.

If you have any special inquiries please email me!