If you'd some help this year, you can watch master carver Steve Dahlke at work at the Craftsman Experience, a new DIY store in Chicago's River North Neighborhood www.Facebook.com/Craftsman.
From Thursday, October 7 through Sunday, October 10, Steve and Gus Smithhisler will be carving pumpkins weighing between 500 and 800 pounds. They'll also give easy tips and instruction on carving the perfect pumpkin, including the right tools you need to make your pumpkin the envy of the neighborhood. There's no charge for the demonstrations at 233 W. Huron, Chicago.
Steve, a Rosemont resident, started carving when he was 18 years old and has been a carver for more than 21 years. His work has been shown in many states such as Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and Iowa. Steve enjoys carving all types of pumpkins but his specialty is carving giant pumpkins weighing well over 500 pounds. The largest pumpkin he has carved weighed more than 1,400 pounds and the smallest one he has carved was 2 pounds. It take s him 2 to 4 hours to carve a giant pumpkin and it may take him only 20 minutes to transform a small one.
Whatever size pumpkin you'd like to attempt, Steve has some tips for carving them:
1. Place newspaper down on the table and cover the entire surface. This will ensure easy clean-up and capture all the pumpkin seeds when emptying your pumpkin. Also parents should make sure to supervise children who want to learn how to carve
2. Use a sharp knife to cut the top off; adults should do this. Make a pattern in the top so it is easier to identify which way the top goes back on the pumpkin. Next, empty the contents of your pumpkin onto the newspaper using a scoop.
3. Now it's time to get creative! Have your pattern ready to trace onto your pumpkin. You can use a pumpkin carving kit with a pre-drawn pattern or use your imagination and draw a design of your own.
4. Choose your pumpkin carving tools. You can use a utility knife to cut out your design or even a reciprocating saw for larger pumpkins.
5. After your pumpkin is carved, place "c7" Christmas lights or a fake candle light inside to illuminate your pumpkin's face. You can also use a small votive candle. Then, put your pumpkin on display for everyone to enjoy.
PUMPKIN CARVING DEMONSTRATIONS
5 to 9 pm: Today and tomorrow
12 noon to 8 pm: Saturday and Sunday
233 W. Huron St. , Chicago