Carving a pumpkin is a fall rite of passage. It’s classic fun, but you know as well as I do there’s a huge, messy clean-up to contend with after the carving is done. Slimy, stringy pumpkin parts are no fun to step on and pick off countertops.
In fact, it’s this very part of the process that has had me swearing off pumpkin carving for three years in a row. Two years ago, I talked my kiddos into painting their pumpkins instead of cutting into them. And last year, I gave them cash in exchange for us all not buying pumpkins at all. That icky, sticky clean-up can be a huge deterrent for clean-loving mamas like myself.
Pick the perfect pumpkin. Get your best deal yet on pumpkin hunting this year with these top tips on how to save at the pumpkin patch.
But, this year, the kids have decided the holiday fun is worth the clean-up. So, I’ve been prepping for the season and hunting down top tips for keeping the carving as clean as possible.
That’s where mess-free pumpkin carving hacks come in. We’ve always just carved on top of the kitchen table, leaving me with hours of post-pumpkin pick-up. But, there are lots of great shortcuts for clean-up. I’ve hunted the top seven down for you because we all deserve a happy Halloween — with minimal mess and all the glowing fun that comes from jack-o’-lanterns.
Here are seven pumpkin carving hacks that will make your life so much easier this pumpkin-carving season. Grab one of those classic orange squashes and don’t worry about the mess. These easy ideas make it a snap to clean up!
Hack #1: Create a newspaper table
Source: Lush USA
If you have newspapers handy, don’t be shy about covering every square inch of space around where you’ll be carving. That means covering the table and the floor, where you’re sure to find stringy pumpkin bits. If you’ve got a pumpkin that just wants to roll, the floor may be the best place to get the job done. Toss the gunky newspaper in the trash when you’re finished.
Hack #2: Cut up plastic garbage bags
Source: Messi Jessi
Don’t have newspapers around? Simply cut open some lawn and garden garbage bags and cover the area around where you’ll be carving. You can use painter’s tape to keep the garbage bags in place, and once finished, carefully fold the edges of the bag toward the center, gather it all up, and toss it in the trash. Easy!
Hack #3: Grab a bowl
Source: Messi Jessi
Keep a guts bowl handy for the stringy bits and seeds of the pumpkin. For super easy clean-up, line the guts bowl with a disposable plastic bag, like those you’d bring home from Walmart or Target. After the pumpkin is carved, just toss the bag of pumpkin innards in the trash and you’re left with a clean bowl.
Hack #4: Prep a clean-up station
Source: Mom Trends
Messy hands are a given during pumpkin carving. Keep a package of baby wipes on the table for wiping dirty hands. Place a small garbage pail near the table for tossing the dirty wipes.
If you’re really feeling organized, create little carving stations for each of your kids by placing everything they need on a large cookie sheet. They’ll be able to easily find all of their tidy-promoting tools when they’re placed nearby. Plus, when it’s time to clean-up, you can simply carry the cookie sheet to the trash can, dump the contents, then toss it in the dishwasher. So simple!
Hack #5: Carve outside
Source: The Celebration Shoppe
Take it outside! Even with necessary precautions, you may still find random stringy bits attached to table legs and chairs. If you have the opportunity, move your pumpkin carving station to the yard. You’ll have plenty of space, and no worries about gunking up the house. It’s the ultimate carefree way to carve.
Cover your picnic table with a disposable plastic tablecloth and carve away. When it comes time to tidy, simply fold up the tablecloth and toss. Then wash your back patio down with a quick spray from the garden hose. Your work area will be shiny and clean before you can say “Happy Halloween!”
Hack #6: Wear plastic gloves
Source: Nina Says
If the idea of squishing your hands into slippery, gooey pumpkin guts makes you (or your kiddos) queasy, use those dishwashing gloves sitting beneath your sink. Easy to slip on, and even easier to wash off, they’ll keep your fingers free of goop and can even be tossed in the dishwasher for snappy clean-up.
Hack #7: Try no-touch carving
Source: The Garden Glove
Skip the hands-on approach and decorate your squash with a drill instead. You can use a variety of bit sizes to bore beautiful holes into decorative designs, then open the top of the pumpkin and scoop as a last step.
Though this means one courageous volunteer will have to brave the innards, this fun approach is a great alternative to sticky knives that can slip out of hands while carving. Just make sure you set your table with newspaper first, so overall clean-up time is extra-quick.
What’s your best pumpkin carving tip?
How do you keep your carving area clean? We’d love to hear which pumpkin carving hacks work best for your family. Leave a comment below and share your secrets!