It's Halloween, carve a pumpkin

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I know you've seen them - those elaborate, beautifully carved pumpkins that folks seem to create every Halloween and autumn.

Watch now!

Well, maybe you're like me and wonder how they carve those masterpieces. I've personally seen the pumpkin carving tools in every store this time of year but have never bought them. I've always relied on the good 'ol kitchen knife and, well, gotten pretty dismal results. As long as every shape is a triangle I'm fine. But honestly I've never carved a good pumpkin. Ever.

So, I caved and picked up a "four in one" pumpkin carving tool to . Here's the review - from a really, really bad pumpkin carver.

Is A Carving Tool Worth Buying? Yes. One word. Yes. These little knives make a difference. They are safer for older kids to use, not as sharp as knives and they are really versatile. I especially liked the "rake" feature that allows you to make the fancy sculpted carvings which take the rind but only so much of the flesh off the pumpkin. I really liked simply doing a pumpkin with a "D" on it for Davis to display at my front door on Halloween night. Here's a website to check out for alphabet stencils - It's tedious but the effect is professional if you have the right tools. Mine is now sitting on a table by my front door ready to welcome evening visitors. I'm glad I did it, I love the way it looks - very Martha - if you know what I mean!

Keeping your Carved Creations Fresh Vaseline. It works. Last year, I tested everyone's opinion - vegetable oil, nothing, Vaseline, lotion and Vaseline won. It really works - use it sparingly because it is very slimy but coat any cut areas and your pumpkin carving will stay fresher for days longer. Try this especially if you put the effort into an elaborately carved creation.

Drill Baby Drill THIS IS A BLAST! And the effect is equally fun! Simply load your drill with a larger bit and after cleaning out your pumpkin as you would for any typical carving, go at it I liked the idea of holes all over, a spiral, stars, initials, whatever. I finished mine off with one of those multi-colored battery operated lights (found mine at Party City for $4.99) and it's the coolest, easiest pumpkin projects ever!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe Again, more evidence that I am stuck in more than one rut. Each and every year I make my roasted pumpkin seeds the exact same way - some melted butter and salt. Well, this year I mixed it up a notch and added Worcestershire sauce for a savory taste treat. Here's the recipe:

4 Tbsp. Melted butter 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Heat them until golden brown but watch them carefully. Most ovens take 20 minutes; mine took 30 minutes or so. Just watch so that they are browned and crisp. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm or cold.

Halloween! One of my favorite holidays to bring family and neighbors together. Try a new trick or two and treat yourself this year. Enjoy!

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