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Pumpkin carving is a centuries-old custom, not only in the U.S. but across the globe. It marks one of the world’s oldest holidays, Halloween, a celebration rooted in ancient rituals, religious festivals, superstition, and cultural beliefs. In the U.S., pumpkin carving has become an art and an opportunity to show off artistic skills. From complicated geometric patterns to celebrity likenesses and unique illumination methods, there are endless possibilities when it comes to creating the perfect jack-o’-lantern.

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1. The Best Pumpkins for Carving

Not all pumpkins are the same. There are generally two types. Pie pumpkins have more of the stringy fibers, seeds, and pulp on the inside and their shells are thicker. They’re also rounder and smaller. Carving pumpkins have a thinner shell and outer skin, which makes them easier to carve. Plus, they usually offer more canvas space for your carving ideas. Choose pumpkins that are free of any blemishes or dark spots. They should sound hollow when thumped.

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