specializing in advanced surgical care of hand, wrist, and elbow injuries and conditions

Pumpkin Carving Hand Safety

Pumpkin Carving Tools

Pumpkin Carving Tools

The American Society for Hand Surgery note that Halloween is one of the top three holidays that produce the most emergency room visits each year. Finger and hand injuries account for the greatest proportion of injuries on Halloween. Pumpkin carving can be a dangerous activity; however some simple safety tips may keep all ghosts and goblins safe this year.

  • Pay attention to your non-carving hand. The hand holding the pumpkin is often injured by the carving tool.
  • Sharper isn’t better. Very sharp knives can get stuck in the pumpkin and be difficult to pull out. Instead consider a serrated pumpkin carving saw from a carving kit.
  • Always cut away from the body in case the tool slips and be sure to carve slowly and steadily.
  • Make sure your pumpkin, your hands, and tools are dry. A wet pumpkin is hard to hold and may cause the carving tools to slip.
  • Carving is for the adults. Scooping out the slippery seeds is for the kids!

There are also some creative ways to decorate pumpkins without using sharp objects such as painting the pumpkins or use pieces from Mr. Potato Head to decorate your pumpkin’s face.

For carving the pumpkin consider using a pumpkin carving tool kit as opposed to kitchen knives.  A research study found pumpkin-carving tools to be far superior and safer than serrated or kitchen knives. The plain kitchen knife was found to cause more injuries than the serrated kitchen knife. Kitchen knives require more force to puncture a pumpkin, meaning more opportunity for injury.

If, however, you obtain an unwelcomed hand injury such as a laceration or puncture you should have the injury evaluated. If your injury needs immediate attention you should go to an emergency department or urgent care center.  If there has been injury to the soft tissue of the hand such as a nerve or tendon it is important that you be evaluated by a hand surgeon to determine the most appropriate treatment.

Safe pumpkin carving is the first step for a happy Halloween!