5 Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips

by Shelia Tenny, OTR/L, CHT1 Comment

As the weather becomes cooler and fall approaches, many are looking forward to autumn activities, like going to apple orchards, corn mazes and of course – decorating pumpkins! The hand therapists at Athletico would like to help you avoid any injuries when getting in the Halloween spirit this fall, so save your hands and fingers from a scary situation by following these tips!

1. Opt for decorations

Avoid a horrific Halloween mishap by decorating pumpkins with paint, ribbons, flowers, or gluing on decorations to add that special fall flair. You can customize your pumpkin to fit your decor or style, without increasing your risk for injury. Commercial kits are available in stores that include accessories for a fun no-carve option.

  • Bonus tip: decorate a faux pumpkin to your liking, they are durable and made of hard foam. These can readily be found at a craft or convenience store. These can be stored and pulled out the next season for instant Halloween fun!

2. Try a carving kit

If you still want to carve a pumpkin, ditch your kitchen knives and opt for a pumpkin carving kit. These kits can be found online and in convenience stores. They are designed for pumpkin carving safety and are typically not sharp enough to cause a serious injury.  The tools are designed to saw through rinds, poke holes, and scoop out pulp and seeds, without the sharp edges of knives. The instruments are also generally smaller, which makes them easy to control when making intricate cuts. Some kits even come with free pumpkin stencils to inspire the perfect design.

  • Bonus tip: Consider using a melon baller, apple corer, carrot peeler, strawberry huller, or use a power drill to add creative patterns, punches and holes to your designs.

3. Prepare a work space

Work in a clean, dry and well-lit area; save the spooky lights until after the pumpkins are decorated. Make certain that all surfaces, your hands and the pumpkins are dry to avoid slipping, which could lead to injuries.

4. Don’t let children handle knives

According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the carving should be left to the adults.2 Do not allow children to carve or cut pumpkins. Instead have them help with designing and tracing the pattern on the pumpkin. They can also assist with cleaning out the innards and seeds with their hands or a spoon.

  • Bonus tip: Consider cutting a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin instead of removing the top. You can simply set your pumpkin over a candle or light to avoid awkwardly reaching into the hole to light the candle.

5. Take injuries seriously

Should you incur an injury to your hand, minor cuts and injuries will often stop bleeding by applying direct pressure with a clean cloth. If bleeding is substantial or does not stop after 15 minutes, seek medical attention. Also, if you are unable to move your hand through full range of motion, a trip to the ER is in order.

Safety First

Halloween pumpkin decorating should bring smiles, not screams! Follow these tips to minimize the risk of serious injury so your little ghosts and goblins can enjoy the holiday and go trick-or-treating.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

References:
1. “Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips for Halloween.” Pumpkin-Carving Safety Tips for Halloween. , Better Homes & Gardens, www.bhg.com/halloween/pumpkins/pumpkin-carving-safety-tips-for-halloween-281474979647457/.
2. “Pumpkin Carving Safety.” Pumpkin Carving – Safety Tips for Halloween, American Society for Surgery of the Hand, www.assh.org/handcare/hand-safety/pumpkin-carving.
3. Consumer Reports. “Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips.” Consumer Reports, www.consumerreports.org/halloween/pumpkin-carving-safety-tips/.

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