Looking for a break from being drunk in your most clever and “punny” costume this Halloween? Try carving pumpkins. If it’s been a while since your prime carving days, here are some refresher directions for how to carve the perfect Jack-o-Lantern (also known as how to not cut yourself and end up in the ER):

First, select a plump pumpkin with a long stem. Using a large, sharp knife, make a pretty large circular cut (about 3 – 4 inches) away from the stem. This creates a top and gives you access to all the slimy goodness inside.

Photo by Lauren Kent

After you’ve made your top, shave it clean using a scraper (or just a big metal spoon if you don’t have one). Use a smaller knife to cut away any strings (ew). Separate the gunk and set the seeds aside so you can spice and bake them later.

Photo by Lauren Kent

When you’re ready to carve, grab a sharp, serrated knife and get creative. Or pick up a super-inexpensive carving kit with a kid(and twentysomething)-friendly serrated knife.

Tip: to preserve your pumpkin, spray it with a mixture of bleach and water (1 tablespoon bleach per gallon of water), let it dry, then rub the cut surfaces with petroleum jelly.

Oh, and when it’s time to say goodbye, gather your friends and participate in a good old-fashioned pumpkin smashing.