Perfect orange globes with a curved stem are popular for Halloween, but these tend to have tough skin and fibrous flesh. This makes them difficult to cut and hollow out. So, look instead for “Mammoth Gold” pumpkins. The skin is easier to cut and it takes less work to remove the seeds. Wait to buy pumpkins until it's close to Halloween to get the best deal, especially if you are buying many.

Hollow pumpkins out by wearing rubber gloves. Washing off pumpkin guts with soap and hot water will stain your hands. Line the work surface with plastic tablecloths with felt backing. Seasonal tablecloths often go on sale after holidays. Hollow out the pumpkins and remove the seeds on one day, then carve the pumpkins on Halloween.

Patterns can be used for carving designs, but popular today are simply pictures from books. Photocopying, then enlarging and darkening pictures from children’s books are ways to make patterns. Stick the pattern to the pumpkin with masking tape or painter’s tape. Then use a dull pencil to transfer the picture to the pumpkin before carving. Carve the most complicated sections first. Don’t take out the pumpkin flesh until the end, or your design will have no support while you carve. And don’t worry about making a mistake. When we make a mistake, simply turn it into something else. Your face suddenly has a scar and you go with it.

How long the pumpkins will last depends on the weather. Hot weather means a short shelf life, and cold, rainy weather means a longer shelf life. You might try dipping pumpkin in a bathtub of cool water for two to three minutes, but this can be messy. Hollowed out pumpkins will keep for several days in a cool place, like a back deck, a basement or a shady spot in the yard. When it’s time to clean up, place pumpkin guts in double-lined grocery bags and place in the trash can. If you are doing a dozen or more pumpkins, ask neighbors if you can place some of the waste in their trash cans.

The primary focus of this passage is most likely _______________.