The leaves are changing colors, the nights are chilly, and the clouds have settled back over the Willamette Valley – it must be fall! That means it’s time for pumpkin carving. If you’ve always been the type to clear off the kitchen table for your pumpkin carving adventures, consider using your cedar decking instead. Although you may have never considered locating your pumpkin carving party on your decking materials, Portland often has dry enough weather during late October to make it possible.
One benefit of carving your pumpkins outside is that you will be able to enjoy nature while you work. Another is that you won’t have to drag all of those pumpkin guts through the house on the way to the compost pile. In other words, there will be less of a mess inside your home.
However, in order to protect your cedar decking, we recommend preparing your decking materials by laying down a tarp, an old shower curtain or even flattened cardboard boxes. Basically, you want to find something that will act as a protective layer between the pumpkin innards and your cedar decking.
Here are a few more tips for carving pumpkins on your decking materials; Portland’s pumpkin enthusiasts follow these techniques to create an even more magical carving experience.
- Why not create a design using cookie cutters? Choose fall-themed shapes, and hammer them into the outside of the pumpkin. Do this before scooping out the insides. Pliers will come in handy for pulling the cookie cutters out. You don’t need to go all the way through the pumpkin’s exterior, but you do want to create a deep enough indentation to make it easy to follow the lines with a small knife once you’ve cut off the top and scooped out the guts.
- Avoid pumpkins with moldy stems or bruises; they will rot more quickly.
- Prevent mold growth by soaking your pumpkin in a solution of one teaspoon bleach per gallon of water.
- Once you’re done carving, smear petroleum jelly on the inside and the cut surfaces of your pumpkin to help preserve it.
- Consider sprinkling nutmeg or cinnamon on the lid of your pumpkin; this will create a delicious scent when your autumnal masterpiece is lit.
Organic materials such as pumpkin goop can stain your cedar decking if left in one spot for too long. For this reason, you’ll want to use a hose to spray any lingering guts off of your cedar decking once the pumpkin carving party has ended.