Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pumpkin Carving--Prevent the Injuries

Updated 3/2017-- photos/video and all links (except to my own posts) removed as many no longer active.

Carved pumpkins can be works of art, but carving one incorrectly can leave you with cut fingers. Minor cuts will often stop bleeding on their own or by applying direct pressure to the wound. Most of these cuts and scraps will be minor and can be treated by washing with soap and water initially. Then keep the wound clean and dry while it heals. However, if the bleeding continues after 15 minutes or if you lose the ability to move the finger properly (very likely a tendon injury), then seek medical attention at a hospital emergency department. (photo credit--Headless Horseman)

Let's prevent the injuries. Here are some tips:
  • Carve in a clean, dry, well-lit area.
    If your tools, hands or cutting table are wet, this can cause slippage and lead to injuries.
  • Always have adult supervision (without alcohol use)
    Children under age five should never carve. Instead, allow kids to draw a pattern or face on the pumpkin and have an adult carve. Allow the child to be responsible for cleaning out the inside pulp and seeds. They can use their hands or a spoon for this. Children, ages five to ten, can carve but only with adult supervision.
  • The right way to cut.
    You should always cut away from yourself in small, controlled strokes. A sharp knife is not necessarily the best tool because it often becomes wedged in the thicker part of the pumpkin, requiring force to remove it. An injury can occur if your hand is placed incorrectly when the knife dislodges from the thicker part or slips.
  • Use a pumpkin carving kit.
    Special pumpkin carving kits are available for purchase and include small serrated saws that are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin. If the saw does get stuck and then becomes free, it is not sharp enough to cause a major cut. Fewer injuries occur with use of carving kits. (photo credit)
Here is a link for instructions and patterns for pumpkin carving at Spook Master. And here are just some fun photos I found:

George Bush at Jack of All Blogs

Happy Halloween (Jim Hendricks, bbc.co.uk)
Ping the Pug (photo credit)

Once carved, it is important to remember to KEEP dogs and cats away from Jack o'Lanterns or lighted candles as they could knock them over and start a fire.
Have a safe Halloween season!


denverdoc said...

I am so grateful that I no longer have to carve pumpkins with (or more accurately for) small children. Getting the top off the darn pumpkin was the worst, followed closely by getting those slimy seeds out of the middle. Oh dear, I sound like a real Halloween Scrooge don't I?

It invariably sleets or snows here in Denver on Halloween, and slogging around with the little princess who wouldn't wear a coat over her little princess suit (she did agree one year to using a lace tablecloth as a wrap over her Southern Belle costume) was probably what made me such an orange and black crepe hanger.

Sid Schwab said...

Good info. That first pumpkin picture, however, has put me off my feed for an indeterminate amount of time.

Bruce said...

Thanks. When I think of pumpkin carving, I always remember a friend (fortunately not a surgeon) who plunged a knife into her hand while carving for her kids. A couple of procedures, plenty of rehab, lots of unnecessary agony.

make mine trauma said...

All good advice! I am very dangerous to myself with sharp objects. I think power tools are out to get me so I avoid them.