Last year, around Halloween, my mother-in-law emailed me and my wife a story from the United Kingdom’s Mirror newspaper with a story she thought we’d like. The title was: “Woman’s ‘genius’ pumpkin carving hack has people realising they’ve been doing it wrong.” RELATED: The Family-Friendly California Pumpkin Farm You’ve Never Heard of But Need to Visit
I wasn’t going to click it but of course the headline was compelling, and I really was curious if, for the past 40+ years, I have in fact been carving pumpkins all wrong. Turns out, the story and video is about a 73-year-old grandmother of eight who turned into an influencer during the pandemic.
Barbara “Babs” Costello, a Chicago native, and her daughter run @brunchwithbabs, which has amassed over 3.9 million followers on TikTok. They create great, useful and interesting content.
One of Babs’ videos went viral with a mind-boggling 28 million+ views. In only 59 seconds, I learned that (shockingly) I have indeed been carving pumpkins all wrong. Here are Babs’ really great tips, along with my thoughts in italics.
1. Carve from the bottom.
If you carve your pumpkin from the bottom, you have the stem to hold onto and you can easily slip the pumpkin right over a candle or flashlight. This makes total sense. Why have I, and everyone else I know, been carving from the top??
2. Hold pumpkin in your lap to carve.
You will have a much steadier pumpkin to cut. I haven’t tried this one yet but it does make sense . However, I can also see some serious injuries happening if you’re not careful so my advice is to proceed with caution.
3. Use a red dry erase marker to sketch your design.
It erases easily and if you miss a spot, it blends in. Foolish me … I have been using a PEN forever, which is clearly so stupid. Seriously. If the folks at Google found out, they would never hire me.
4. Use a hand mixer to clean out your pumpkin.
I’ve never even thought of this and I can’t say I know where ours is but … brilliant!
5. Use cookie cutters and a rubber mallet to carve your design.
Again, brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. If you watch the video, it’s so easy, I might have to start designing Jack O’-Lantern cookie cutters.
6. Cover all cut surfaces with Vaseline
Babs says to cover all the cut surfaces of the pumpkin to keep it moist after carving. Pumpkins should last 1-2 weeks carved! I use Vaseline multiple times a day to keep my lips moist and we literally have a jar in each room of our house (ever since I had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from my lip and my doctor said Vaseline is much better than Chapstick.) This is another smart and easy tip.
7. Sprinkle some cinnamon
Babs recommends sprinkling some cinnamon on the inside of your pumpkin for a festive pumpkin spice aroma when a candle is lit inside the pumpkin. I’m all over this. Seriously, Babs, you’re brilliant.
I’m not the only one who thinks Babs is a genius. The top comment on her TikTok video is from @Dukaroo who wrote: “My God, Babs, you NEVER fail to impress and teach me something new, and inspiring.” This comment alone has 87,000 likes.
Another commenter said: “God, I love you! I have been doing everything wrong the last 40 plus years of my life!!!”
I hope this post helps you! And please share it with anyone else you know who’s carving pumpkins this Halloween season. Happy carving!
@brunchwithbabs ?Do’s and Don’ts of Pumpkin Carving ?It is a treasured tradition in our family to carve jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. But with all the yuck and mess, sometimes my kids would quit the project before we even started. Babs’ Do’s and Don’ts for Pumpkin Carving, saves the mess and speeds up carving so you can have the perfect jack-o-lantern with no mess and no fuss. Happy Halloween ?XO Babs 1. Carve from bottom. That way you have the stem to hold onto and you can easily slip the pumpkin right over a candle or flashlight. 2. Hold pumpkin in your lap to carve. You will have a much steadier pumpkin to cut. 3. Use a red dry erase marker to sketch your design. It erases easily and if you miss a spot, it blends in. 4. Use a hand mixer to clean out your pumpkin. 5. Use cookie cutters and a rubber mallet to carve your design. 6. Cover all cut surfaces with Vaseline to keep the pumpkin moist after carving. Pumpkins should last 1-2 weeks carved! 7. Sprinkle some cinnamon on the inside top of your pumpkin for festive pumpkin spice smell when a candle is lit inside the pumpkin. ? #pumpkincarving ♬ original sound – everyone’s grandmother