Open Accessibility Menu

How to Carve a Pumpkin Safely

  • Category: Hand & Wrist
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Daniel Gittings, M.D.

The tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns originates in Ireland in the 19th century. The orange orbs were carved to depict supernatural entities and were designed to be scary to evil spirits. So when is the pumpkin the scariest?

From a health perspective, the scariest time for a pumpkin happens during the actual carving. The pumpkin’s slick outer skin and its slimy insides contribute to more than 4,500 hand and wrist injuries each year.

Fortunately, there are many steps that can be taken to have an enjoyable holiday while continuing the traditions we all love:

  • Tip 1: For children and adults, consider painting pumpkins as an alternative to carving. This will reduce the risk of a penetrating injury.
  • Tip 2: If carving, use a carving kit with tools designed for the craft. These kits are safer for older children to use than traditional sharp knives that can lead to more severe injury.
  • Tip 3: Children should carve in a well-lit area under the supervision of an adult. If an injury occurs, rinse the wound with clean water and apply an antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Seek medical evaluation within the first week of injury to catch any injury to tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and bones to optimize recovery with early care.

Have a healthy and safe Halloween!