Halloween is a time of year that is full of fun traditions, like trick or treating, dressing up, and carving pumpkins. Once you have picked the perfect pumpkin to carve, it is important to remember safety. About 44.2 percent of Americans will carve pumpkins this year, and over 17 percent of all injuries sustained on Halloween are finger or hand injuries from pumpkin carving, according to PR Newswire.
With all of the dangers of Halloween, pumpkin carving doesn’t have to be one of them. There are a few things you can do to keep your little carvers safe while still enjoying making spooky and silly jack-o-lanterns.
Part of the dangers of carving a pumpkin come from the knives that you use to carve a pumpkin. As much as it might seem impossible, it is possible to go knife-free, or at least to use knives a little less in the pumpkin decorating process. The Pinellas Live Free! Coalition suggests that if your children are younger, draw on the pumpkins. You can even get pretty paint colors and goofy stencils to draw onto the pumpkins for your younger kids to trace and color in. This virtually eliminates the dangers of making your pumpkins.
Another fun way to go knife free is to let your kids scoop out the pumpkin guts with their hands. Many people scoop out the inside of the pumpkin with a knife, but the fact is that your kids will love to stick their fingers in the goopy pumpkin brains. You can also use spoons to empty out the inside of the pumpkin. All Children’s Hospital recommends letting your little ones use an ice cream scoop to remove those slimy pumpkin guts.
Switch to Small Pumpkin Tools
If your kids are too old to just paint on the pumpkin, consider getting a pumpkin carving kit with small pumpkin carving tools. Almost every store that sells pumpkins sells the pumpkin carving kits, some pumpkin patches sell them as well. They come with smaller tools that are less likely to cause an injury. The great thing about pumpkin carving kits is that they also typically come with stencils to make your jack-o-lantern extra spooky and creative.
If you have to use the pumpkin carving kits or small knives, it is also a good idea to have the older kids do the carving. Perhaps allow the younger kids to draw the face onto the pumpkin and scoop the guts out while the older kids carve out the design. WEDU has some great and free downloadable pumpkin carving templates you can use as well.
Ditch the Candles
One of the funnest parts of carving a jack-o-lantern is putting a candle inside and displaying it on Halloween for all of your friends and neighbors to see. The problem is, many parents and kids alike suffer burns from trying to light the candle while it is sitting inside of the pumpkin. Not only that, but it could catch fire with the candle inside. If left unattended, a pet can easily knock over your pumpkin and can set a fire in seconds.
KidsHealth.org suggests using a glowstick or a flameless candle instead of using a traditional candle. Both with provide the same eerie glow without the burns and fire hazards. If you absolutely must light a candle inside of your pumpkin, it is also recommended that you use a longer lighter, such as a grill lighter, to light the candle rather than reaching into the pumpkin to light it.
For more Halloween safety tips, visit TBParenting.com. You can also check out our Pinterest board for more ideas on fun Halloween costumes, jack-o-lantern templates, and more!