If you haven’t heard of Costello before, the 74-year-old mother and grandma boasts 3.9 million TikTok followers and the status of being “everyone’s grandmother” with her simple tips and tricks on everything from cooking to throwing a party to just living life.
Costello first went viral during the pandemic, when she provided comforting and calming content in the midst of turmoil, and she hasn’t stopped being beloved since. Bon Appétit writer Ali Francis even notes that Costello is her “go-to” for “uplifting” and “instructive” life lessons — and her hacks for carving pumpkins are right up there with the best of her lessons.
Costello’s hacks boil down to four key concepts to make pumpkin carving easier:
1. Use a hand mixer to loosen the inside of the pumpkin.
Instead of trying to hand-scoop out the inside of your pumpkin, Costello recommends using a hand mixer first to loosen “all those nasty strings” much more effectively.
“Omg thank you so much I’ve always hated the pumpkin guts since I was a kid,” commented @xoanna14xo.
2. Use cookie cutters and a mallet to carve shapes.
Move aside carving with those tiny tools that take forever — Costello introduced her followers to the concept of simply placing a cookie cutter on the outside of the pumpkin, then using a soft mallet to push the cutter in and through the pumpkin.
“Just push it right through,” she says.
3. Sketch design with a red dry-erase marker.
Using a red marker instead of a black one, Costello claims, will let you easily remove any leftover lines.
“This is life changing,” noted @luckychic23.
4. Seal cut edges with Vaseline.
If you do carve shapes or faces in your pumpkin, Costello encourages you not to “let all your work go to waste” by sealing the cut edges with a generous glob of Vaseline.
“Rub it all on all the open cut surfaces — it will keep your pumpkin moist, it won’t dry out as quickly and it should last about one to two weeks,” she notes.
5. Cut the bottom of the pumpkin, not the top.
Last but not least, in a hack that blew many people’s minds, Costello recommends cutting the bottom of the pumpkin rather than the top to make it easier to put a light or candle inside.
This particular hack was so shocking that it even inspired other TikTokers to duet with Costello.
“How old were you when you learned to cut the bottom of the pumpkin and not the top…. today years old… today,” noted @def_lep_girl on Costello’s TikTok.
“lmao she has all these tips and I’m more shocked on how she cut the bottom of the pumpkin. Great idea fr,” added @janedoegm02.
Costello also recommends sprinkling the inside of your carved pumpkin with a generous dose of ground cinnamon for a “beautifully scented Jack-O-Lantern,” but some commenters warned that cinnamon can actually be flammable.
FireFighterNow, a site run by a career firefighter, does explain that cinnamon dust, in particular, is very flammable and dangerous, but also adds that it’s “highly unlikely” that using ground cinnamon from your kitchen pantry could create enough cinnamon dust in the air to create a hazard. Still, you may want to think twice before sprinkling large amounts of cinnamon if you plan on using heat or a candle in your pumpkin.
Overall, however, TikTok is bowing to Babs for her tips to make pumpkin carving just a little more enjoyable.
“You just changed Halloween forever. Thank you,” said @jonlatour.
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