Carving pumpkins can be spooky in itself—mostly because of the impending doom that is sawing into your finger in the process of creating a Jack-o’-lantern. To keep all digits in tact, we sought out to find the easiest (and safest) way to carve a pumpkin.
We tested a few popular methods on the market: The classic, cheap Pumpkin Masters kit that retails for $5, the mid-range Pumpkin Masters Halloween Master kit that sells for $10, and the pricey Sano Naturals Pumpkin Carving Kit that retails for $16.
We also cobbled together our own makeshift kit, using a couple paring knives, a serrated knife, a chef’s knife, and an ice cream scoop. Our mission? To identify the set that offers the easiest, quickest, and safest carve.
Winner: Pumpkin Masters All-In-One Decorating Kit
What it comes with: 1 saw, 1 detail saw, scraper tool, drill
The verdict: Sure, it looks like cheap plastic, but there’s a reason why this old-school classic has become a household staple since its inception in the mid-’80s. I was surprised to find that these inexpensive, flimsy-looking tools enabled the fastest, safest-feeling carve. The pack comes with two sawing tools and an effective scooper, as well as a small plastic “drill.” As soon as we were done with our testing, we all reached for these tools.
Runner-up: Pumpkin Masters Halloween Master Carving Kit
What it comes with: 1 saw, 1 detail saw, etching tool, scraper tool, drill
The verdict: This pack came in a distant second place, and is a testament to why you shouldn’t mess with perfection. The two saws were nice to have, but didn’t slice through the pumpkin as effectively as the cheaper Pumpkin Masters’ saw, and the scooper had a lot of flex to it, making it difficult to scoop out the guts.
Avoid: Sano Naturals Pumpkin Carving Kit
What it comes with: 1 saw, etching tool, scraper, drill
The verdict: Sano encourages you not to “waste money on cheap, plastic tools you replace every October,” but we found that in reality, you shouldn’t waste your money on this most-expensive and least-effective kit. The sharp metal on its scooper hurt our hands and its one saw felt flimsy and ineffective. Its etching tool went virtually untouched, and the flat plastic handles were difficult to grasp and uncomfortable to hold. I used my fingers to gut my pumpkin instead of the tool and wistfully stared at my coworkers easily scraping through pulp with their plastic tools.
Avoid: At-home tools
Probably don’t do this. We cobbled together a set of knives and scoops, and the large, sharp kitchen knives felt really dangerous when carving—it was nerve-racking and I missed the ease of cutting that comes with the cheap saws in the carving kits. When it came to scooping, though, we all preferred the big metal serving spoon to remove our pumpkin guts. Other than that, we heartily advise against carving your pumpkins with a homemade kit.