No one wants to sidetrack their favorite Fall festivities with a trip to the emergency room. That’s why Hand Surgeon Desirae McKee, M.D., offers these pumpkin carving tips to make your family tradition a safe one!

  • Use the Right Tools
    Instead of kitchen knives, use a pumpkin-carving kit. You can find these kits at discount stores or online. The tools are serrated and can saw through rinds, poke holes, and scoop out innards without being razor-sharp. The instruments are also generally small, which makes them easier to control and easier to use when making intricate cuts.
  • Carve Your Pumpkin With Its Top On
    If the top is on, you won’t be able to put your hand inside and cut toward your hand. Holding the top of the pumpkin while you cut helps stabilize the pumpkin. And you should always cut with the blade pointed down.
  • Keep Things Clean, Dry, and Bright
    Carve in a clean, dry, and well-lit area. Keep your hands and tools clean and dry, and take your time.
  • Don’t Let Kids Carve
    Children 14 and younger should not do the actual carving. Instead, have   them draw the pattern with a marker and clean out the pulp and seeds with their hands or a spoon — but make sure an adult does the actual cutting. Be sure and supervise older teens, too.
  • Know First Aid
    If you or a family member gets cut while carving a pumpkin, apply direct pressure to the injury using a clean, dry cloth. If bleeding doesn't stop in 15 minutes, get to an emergency room or urgent care.