This Halloween don’t let jack o’lantern carving get scary. Here’s how to avoid injury.

The combination of slippery pumpkins and sharp knives can be dangerous. Follow these tips, and other Halloween decorating safety tips, to help keep everyone safe when carving your Halloween pumpkin this year.

Set an Age Limit

Consumer Reports recommends that children younger than 14 years old should not do the actual pumpkin carving. But younger kids can still get in on the fun:

  • Have them draw the patterns for their pumpkins.
  • Allow them to decorate their pumpkins with markers, paint, or non-carving decoration kits.
  • Let them clean out the seeds and pulp from inside the pumpkins.
  • If you decide to let your teens carve pumpkins, closely supervise in case anything goes wrong.

Use the Right Tools

Big kitchen knives aren’t the best fit for this job. According to Consumer Reports, a pumpkin carving kit is a safer option. The tools in these kits are:

  • Designed to easily pierce pumpkins
  • Not as sharp as average kitchen knives
  • Smaller and easier to control

Follow Proper Technique

Avoid finger and hand injuries:

  • Work slowly and steadily—don’t rush the project.
  • Cut away from your body with the carving tool.
  • Use small, controlled motions when carving.
  • Keep your free hand out of the way to avoid mishaps. Try keeping the topper in your pumpkin to avoid putting hands inside while carving.

Set Up for Safety

Before you start carving, prepare your pumpkin carving area and tools:

  • Make sure the carving area is dry, well lit, and on a stable surface.
  • Wash and dry all of your tools before carving.
  • Keep your hands clean and dry to avoid slipping.

Once you’re done carving your jack o’lantern, avoid using candles to light your design. Burning candles are a potential fire hazard, and they can be especially dangerous to kids. Instead, try illuminating your pumpkin with an LED tea light or other type of battery-powered light source.

Adapted from State Farm Auto Insurance