Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress
This Halloween, why not put a fun twist on pumpkin carving by making some Jack O'Melons? Watermelons carve up boo-tifully, and you can eat the fruit right away, making it easy to scare up some delicious Halloween fun.
This Bat Jack O'Melon, Tiki Mask, and Jack O'Melon man can add a frightfully fun touch to a Halloween party - and the whole family can help carve them.
Tiki Mask Table Decoration
1 oblong seedless watermelon
Pencil or green dry erase marker
Paring and kitchen knives
Slice 1/4 inch off end of watermelon to provide a stable base.
Use pencil to draw the face, making adjustments in scale to your particular watermelon.
Use melon baller to scoop out nostrils; use small paring knife to clean up edges.
Next use paring knife to cut out the inside mouth area, leaving room for the teeth.
Next cut individual teeth, using the same small paring knife, and use a spoon to dig out a large area of flesh for the mouth cavity.
Next carve out eyes, digging a deep cavity in each, for drama. Use a channel knife to carve details.
Use some carved out pieces to cut a "bone" decoration for top of head, and attach with a toothpick.
Bat Jack O'Melon
2 round watermelons, preferably yellow, for the body
Kitchen and paring knives
Green dry-erase marker (preferably washable)
Large bowl and spoon
4 to 6-inch wooden skewers
Candle or light
Wash watermelons under cool running water and pat dry.
On a cutting board, place the roundest watermelon on its side and cut off 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the stem end, being careful not to cut too deep into the white part of the rind. This will provide a sturdy base.
Using dry-erase marker, draw two eyes, an oval for a nose and a smiling mouth that would resemble a bat. Draw two ears and an outline of a forehead, continuing the line around to make the top for the bat that will be removed.
Use a knife to carefully cut away inside of the eyes, nose and mouth and also around the top of watermelon. Remove top and hollow out watermelon with spoon, reserving fruit to use in a fruit salad or punch.
On the second watermelon, use dry-erase marker to draw 2 bat wings (the top of the wings will have 2 points and the bottom of the wings will have 2 points.)
Use knife to carefully cut wings out, reserving inside of watermelon to make fruit salad or punch.
Attach wings to side of watermelon bat with wooden skewers, and use toothpicks to attach candy-corn as fangs.
Insert a candle to light up your bat.
1 round watermelon
Cut a thin slice from the bottom of watermelon to provide a stable base.
Cut circular piece of the rind from the top, big enough to reach into to remove the flesh. Carefully remove that top section and reserve for later to be used as a lid.
Remove the flesh from inside the watermelon using melon baller, reserving melon balls for snacking or a fruit salad.
Once flesh is removed, drain any excess liquid from inside watermelon.
Using pen or knife, draw or scratch the outlines of eyes, nose, mouth, hair, ears or any other feature you want on the side of the watermelon, using a template as a guide. Then, following the outlines, cut the features into the watermelon and remove excess rind. To create a 3D effect with the features after you have cut them, push gently on the flaps of rind from inside the watermelon. (You can use toothpicks to prop the rind, if you want.)
A safe, battery-operated lamp can be firmly placed inside the watermelon to provide a haunting glow.
Place the circular piece of rind that you reserved back on top of the watermelon and your Jack O'Melon is ready to be displayed.
-Have the watermelon at room temperature when you carve. The cuts will be easier to make. You can chill the watermelon in the refrigerator after cutting and before serving.
-After you've drawn the design on the rind, insert toothpicks in key places to use as guides for your cuts.
-Use a sharp knife with a pointed tip - the sharper the knife, the easier and cleaner the cuts will be.
-When attaching cut pieces on the watermelon to make your design, use round toothpicks or skewers. Flat toothpicks will often break due to the weight of the piece or the thickness of the rind.
Watermelons are a healthy addition to any Halloween party. They're the lycopene leader among fresh produce, are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and contain 6 percent of the daily value for vitamin B6 - all of which boost your immune system.