Safe Halloween Carving Tips to Avoid Hand Injuries

Each year at Halloween, a number of children and adults find themselves accidentally cut or injured while carving a pumpkin.  Hand injuries are particularly common at this time of year.  According to Dr. James Baker, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Surgery, severe hand injuries can occur to hands and fingers of children and adults.  To minimize the risk of injury while carving a pumpkin, Dr. Baker lists the following tips for a safe Halloween:

  • Let Adults do the Carving.  It’s best to leave the carving to adults, and always carve away from themselves (not toward), and in slow and controlled strokes.  After an adult carves the pumpkin, children can be in charge of cleaning out the pulp and seeds from inside the pumpkin. 
  • Supervise Children and Adolescents.  If a child must carve the pumpkin, an adult should supervise – even for adolescents.  Proper supervision can prevent many accidental hand injuries.
  • Make sure there is adequate Light. Always carve a clean, dry and well-lit area.  Make sure the tools are clean and smooth as well.
  • Use a Pumpkin-Carving Kit.  Many stores sell special pumpkin-carving kits at this time of year.  These kits often include small serrated pumpkin saws that are designed to cut through pumpkin sides.  These tools also are designed for cutting out small designs more easily and safely.
  • If you must use a knife, be careful.  A sharp knife may cut the pumpkin easily, but it may also become wedged in spaces that make it difficult to remove.  Be very careful when removing a knife, as it may suddenly release and cause a risk of cutting the skin.
  • If you do get cut or injured:  Bleeding from small cuts will often stop on its own.  You can always apply pressure directly to a wound, but if bleeding continues emergency care may be required.