• By Jeff Olsen

Mayo Clinic Minute: Doctor reminds families to carve with care

October 17, 2017

More than half of Halloween injuries involve pumpkin carving, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Each year, thousands of people end up in emergency departments with cuts, lacerations and puncture wounds suffered during pumpkin-carving activities.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:58) is in the downloads. Read the script.

If, when you think carving pumpkins, you think of a carving knife, you should know:

"That’s probably the worst thing that you can use," says Dr. Vandana Bhide, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician and internal medicine physician.

Dr. Bhide says a carving knife isn’t the right tool for the pumpkin-carving trade.

"It can get stuck and, then, you’re trying to pull it out," she explains. "And it pulls out, and you can cut yourself. Or it can go all the way through the pumpkin on to the other side."

So leave the big knives for Thanksgiving, and pick up a pumpkin decorating kit for Halloween.

"Then, the kids always want to be the one carving the pumpkin," adds Dr. Bhide.

But, she says, even with the right tools, an adult should be the carving artist ...

" ... especially with little ones who don’t have a lot of control over their fine motor movements. It’s important that they can help in things other than actually cutting the pumpkin," explains Dr. Bhide. "You can help draw the pumpkin. You can help clean out the pumpkin."

In the end, it’s a safer way to create something scary for Halloween.