Halloween is just around the corner and that means costumes, candy, and of course pumpkins. Carving pumpkins has been a Halloween tradition for years. It's original intent was to ward away evil spirits and keep them from entering the home. Now though, the tradition has become more of an art form and not so much for the spirits. So I bring you some helpful tips on how to carve an awesome looking pumpkin. Have a happy Halloween.

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    Let's Get Us A Pumpkin

    The bigger the better

    First thing you must have to carve a pumpkin is -- the pumpkin! So lets go over what kind to get. It all really depends on what you are doing. If you and the kiddos are doing it together, you might want to check on getting a small one for each of the kids. Maybe you are having a party. A medium pumpkin carved just right, might look good as a center piece on the table. Perhaps you are one of those who try to outdo the neighbors on decorations. I would suggest you get the biggest one you can find. Find the Great Pumpkin that Charlie Brown always looks for.

    KnaPix, Flickr
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    Safety First

    Let's finish the carving with all our digits

    Being safe is a must. The only fingers that should be laying around are the ones that came with the zombie costume. A few ideas we here at the station have come up with should prevent any accidents. If you have little ones running around, get them a small pumpkin and a magic marker. Let them draw a face on their pumpkin, not the walls, just the pumpkin. You can then, either carve the pumpkin for them, or just put it on the mantle so everyone can see their artistic talent. Older kids can carve their own, but adult supervision is a necessity. Try not to let them do to difficult of a carving because it gets kinda tricky. For the adults, if it is dad doing it, mom supervision should definitely be there. One last trick is to keep a towel close by and wipe the pumpkin with it every so often. This will keep the pumpkin from getting to slippery.

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    Beauty Or The Beast

    Make your pumpkin cute or scary

    One of the hardest parts of carving the pumpkin is deciding what you want it to look like. For those of you with a good imagination, just picture a design on the spot and get to cutting. For those of us that have no creative talent, you can actually buy pre-designed stencils with step by step instructions on how to carve it. These stencils range from scary pumpkins to cute smiley pumpkins. Some of the more difficult stencils can create a three-dimensional look or even some cartoon characters. If you got the will, and the neighbor has already put out his plain jack-o-lantern on the porch, look into getting one of these stencils and blow the block away.

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    Fire It Up

    The finished product

    Now that the carving is done, let's talk about lighting. Traditionally the pumpkin was lit from inside by a candle. The problem these days with using a candle is wind. If you have it sitting outside, the wind can easily blow it out. To keep from having to light it every time there is a breeze, try the battery operated flickering lights they make for jack-o-lanterns. Another way to light up your pumpkin is actually from the outside. I have seen some people wrap their pumpkin with strings of orange lights. This is good for some pumpkins that have a little more detail to show that an inside light won't. Try these different ways and see which accents yours the most.

    indigoprime, Flickr
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    The Leftovers

    What to do with the mess that's left

    Now that the pumpkin is all ready and mom has gotten the band-aids for dad, there is still the mess left over. There are quite a few things you can do with the left overs besides just throwing them in the trash. For those of you who have a small garden or flower beds, the rest of the pumpkin makes great compost. There is also roasted pumpkin seeds. There are many recipes for roasting them. You can also take the stringy goo (no seeds or rind) and throw it in a blender and puree until it is the texture of baby food. You can then use this extra bit for some delicious pumpkin pies.

    Melissa Bernais, Flickr