Tips for Safely Carving Pumpkins

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Halloween marks the start of the holiday season, which can bring about injuries without proper precautions. At Halloween, one of the most common injuries is cuts caused by pumpkin carving and according to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, every October hospitals deal with four to five times more hand injuries than normal. While carving pumpkins is a fall tradition, injuries related to carving do not have to be part of your Halloween celebration. By following the tips below, you can ensure optimal safety for everyone while exploring your creativity with a jack-o-lantern canvas.

Choose the right cutting tools

It can be tempting to reach for a big, sharp knife to tackle the tough skin of a pumpkin, but you should stick to smaller cutting tools and duller knives. Carving kits are actually the best tools for the job, as they have small serrated knifes and plastic detailing tools that will not cause deep cuts in the skin should you slip while carving. The more compact design of these tools also keeps them from getting stuck in the pumpkin flesh and allows for greater maneuverability. Larger knives will pose a risk for deep cuts in the hands and fingers that may damage ligaments and tendons, resulting in long-term problems with dexterity.

Carve before removing the top

If you have hollowed out the pumpkin through the top before carving it, you might end up holding the pumpkin from the inside, which will cause you to cut towards your hand. By waiting to cut off the top, you can stabilize the pumpkin by holding the top firmly and cutting with a downward motion.

Clean up your workspace

Pumpkins can be very slippery, so it is important to thoroughly clean and dry your workspace before making any cuts. You should also keep paper towels nearby to dry your hands and wipe off your tools as needed. A folded towel or rubber mat may also be helpful for keeping the pumpkin in place on the table as you apply force to get through the thick skin.

Reserve the carving for adults

Kids may have fun stenciling a design on the pumpkin and cleaning out the flesh inside, but the actual cutting should be left for grownups. Most Halloween accidents occur in kids from 10 to 14, because parents often assume that older kids can safely handle the carving itself.

If you or your child does suffer a minor cut or abrasion during the pumpkin carving festivities, you can consult a medical professional for first aid tips through MeMD. With our physicians available 24/7, small injuries do not have to disrupt your holiday fun.