Pumpkin Queen of Cambridge offers top tips for carving your gourd

Kara Klypycz has been dubbed the Pumpkin Queen of Cambridge for her incredible displays of carved pumpkins. This year, she's taking on the challenge of carving 150 pumpkins for Halloween and offers some of her top tips for your jack-o-lanterns.

Kara Klypycz to take on challenge of carving 150 pumpkins for Halloween

Kara Klypycz carved two pumpkins in the CBC K-W offices. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Kara Klypycz's house is the place to be on Halloween.

Dubbed the Pumpkin Queen of Cambridge, Klypycz plans to have 150 carved pumpkins on her front lawn on Dellgrove Circle in Cambridge Tuesday night and each one will be different.

"I love it. It's my favourite holiday," Klypycz said of Oct. 31.

It's 150 pumpkins for Canada's 150th, but Klypycz said the numbers keep going up because she likes to challenge herself. Each pumpkin takes 10 to 12 minutes to complete.

This year's theme is Field of Screams with "traditional scares" but look for special pumpkins including one with a Game of Thrones character and a whole array of characters from Wizard of Oz.

The display, which will only be visible from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Halloween night, is also a fundraiser for the United Way Waterloo Region Communities.

Klypycz visited the CBC K-W studio this week and while carving two pumpkins, offered up advice on how you can improve the look of your jack-o-lantern this Halloween.

Pick the right pumpkin

You might think one pumpkin is just like any other, but Klypycz said it's important to think about what you want to put on it.

For instance, one of her patterns this year is a witch's broom, so she needed more of a long gourd for that. If you want to do a long face or design, you'll need more of an oblong shape.

Sometimes, the pumpkins inspire her design.

"There was one that I saw that was kind of squished down and I wanted to turn it into (Star Wars character) Jabba The Hutt," she said. Another one looked like a peanut, which inspired her to card a Peanuts character in it.

Kara Klypycz offers up carving tips. She can complete a pre-scooped pumpkin in about 10 to 12 minutes. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Use the right tools

Do not use a kitchen knife. Period.

"It won't flex" and it will slip, which can be dangerous, Klypycz said. You also won't be able to do intricate designs.

"You want something from a kit that you can buy at the store with the jagged teeth. It'll flex and bend in the grooves of the pumpkin when you're cutting," she said.

If you want to really take your carving to the next level, you can buy sets online that have various knives, so you can change which one you're using depending on the flesh of the pumpkin you're carving.

Go beyond triangle eyes

Klypycz uses transfer paper used by architects, but if you don't have that, you can print off a design, tape it to the pumpkin then prick holes through the design and onto the pumpkin.

Then, just connect the dots and cut out your pattern.