Tips for Hand Safety While Carving Pumpkins


October 26, 2022

If you’re anything like us, carving pumpkins is one of the fun things to do during the fall season. And while it may be fun, it’s important to be mindful of hand safety. Unfortunately, Halloween happens to be one of the three holidays that account for the most ER visits. Most of those visits are from hand or finger injuries suffered while carving.

Hand Safety While Carving Pumpkins

Here are some great tips provided by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand:

  1. Have a Clean Area for Carving
  2. Adult Supervision
  3. Sharper Does Not Mean Better
  4. Use Proper Technique
  5. Paint or Decorate Pumpkins with Stickers 

Reduce the Dangers of Carving Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins has many dangers, and hand safety is critical. Here are some additional tips to keep you safe while cutting:

  1. Make sure it is stable before your first cut into a pumpkin. If it wobbles or rolls in any way, take steps to stabilize it. For example, you can use weights, tie them down with string or nail the bottom of the pumpkin to a board.
  2. Be careful not to carve too quickly into the pumpkin; this can lead to situations where the knife or tool gets stuck and requires force to remove it.  
  3. Always use caution when handling sharp objects – even if they are plastic! For example, knives or carving tools can quickly slide off surfaces and cause severe injuries if not handled carefully. 
  4. Avoid situations where your hand might come in contact with a blade. Make sure not to have your hand inside the pumpkin when using the knife to cut into the pumpkin. 

Common Hand Injuries While Carving Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a popular Halloween decoration, but carving them can be hazardous if you don’t take precautions. Here are five of the most common hand injuries caused by mishaps in pumpkin carving:

  • Minor cuts or lacerations in the non-dominant hand
  • Stab and puncture wounds in the hand
  • Severed tendons and ligaments
  • Flexor and extensor tendon injuries

These injuries can result in permanent nerve damage in hands and fingers or the complete loss of function and motion in the hand.

How to Do it Safely

  • Your carving area should be well-lit, dry, and clean. Have a towel available to dry your hands and tools. 
  • Adults should be in charge of carving. Kids can help by drawing the face using a stencil and scooping the guts. 
  • The best prevention of injury is to use a pumpkin carving kit. These are available at most stores during the season. They have dull carving saws, scoops, and shaping tools that lower the risk of injury.
  • Carve away from the body, and be mindful of where your other hand is. Take your time and carve slowly. 
  • Ultimately, the safest activity is just painting your pumpkins. There are a lot of fun sticker kits available to decorate your pumpkin.

Hand Safety is Important!

Hand safety is important to us. If you have wrist or hand pain, contact Southeast Pain and Spine care team. Fill out the form below to get started. 

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.