4 Tips to Carving a Spooktacular Jack-O-Lantern

Boo to you!

Mark off a fall bucket list item and carve a pumpkin!

Heartland Weekend traveled to Bandy’s Pumpkin Patch in Johnston City to find a pick of the patch.

Owner Johna Bandy gave us four tips to carving a spooktacular jack-o-lantern.

  1. Make sure you have a good sharp knife. And be careful!
  2. Carve a notch in the top of the pumpkin to make it easy to put back on.
  3. Scrape the guts out, starting with the sides then the bottom. It should all fall out.
  4. Put your creation on a mat instead of directly on the concrete. That helps it last longer.

The next question: what do you do with the guts? Experts say you shouldn’t put the pulp down the drain.

Instead, you might want to roast the seeds.

Here’s a recipe thanks to the fine folks at Bandy’s.


Step 1 – Clean the seeds

When you are carving your pumpkin, separate the seeds from the pumpkin flesh and strings. Wash them well (usually putting them in a big bowl of water and rubbing them between your hands is a fast way to clean them) and let them drain in a strainer for about 30 minutes, then spread them out on a baking pan. Now just use a hair dryer to dry them quickly! It is also time to start preheating the oven.  Turn it on and set it to 275° F

Step 2 – Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and season them

Spread the seeds evenly over a cookie sheet and lightly baste the seeds with melted butter, margarine, or vegetable oil.  There are many variations.  Here are the most popular, in order or popularity:

Savory: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt and 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
Lemony:  4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon ‘Mrs. Dash” or lemon pepper
Halloweeny:  4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt,  and 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice.
Spicy: 4 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Natural: 1 teaspoon sea salt or other salt, 4 tablespoons melted butter,

Step 3 – Roast the seeds
Heat them in a 275-degree oven for 10 to 20 minutes until golden brown. DO KEEP AN EYE ON THEM, checking every few minutes and stir about every 5 minutes. Some ovens run hot and it can be as little as 10 minutes or as long as 30 minutes to roast them. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot or cold.

For milder flavor, simmer the cleaned seeds for about an hour in salted water and fry in deep oil. Or mix a tablespoon of oil or margarine to each cup of nuts and roast them at 250 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes until they’re golden. Sprinkle them with salt.



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