Right in time for last-minute jack o'lantern carving!
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a photo of Jennifer Garner
Credit: Getty Images

Halloween weekend is upon us, which means it's time to put the finishing touches on all your ghoulish outdoor decor and prepare for a parade of trick-or-treaters. Of course, no Halloween stoop-scape is complete without the requisite carved pumpkin, which would be a pretty fitting way to celebrate the final weekend before the big day—and if you're in need of some tips to make the jack-o'-lantern carving process as smooth as possible, you can rely on Jennifer Garner for a quick hack.

Garner credits entertaining and kitchen whiz Barbara Costello—otherwise known as @brunchwithbabs on Instagram and TikTok—with the idea for this hack, which relies on a kitchenware staple: a hand mixer. With the hole cut into her pumpkin, Garner takes a hand mixer to the pumpkin guts inside, which quickly rips the seeds and loose flesh from the sides of the squash—though she definitely has to press the mixer pretty deep into her pumpkin, even angling it to get at the sides. When she pans her camera to show the inside of the gourd, the sides are smooth and clean, totally void of any remaining seeds.

To follow Garner's example, scoop out the seeds and guts into a strainer, then tote them over to the sink to rinse them and remove them from the squash membrane. Once the seeds are all rinsed, dried and free from any pumpkin residue, you can snack on them as-is or season and roast them for a little project. Recipes like our Pumpkin Seeds with Everything Bagel Seasoning and Super Seed Bars are easy ways to turn discarded pumpkin into something delicious. You could also use those seeds in a favorite fall salad or as a garnish for soup—either way, they're a heart-healthy addition with lots of antioxidants to boot.

Garner's pre-carving prep also includes a tip that should make your pumpkin easier to handle. Cutting a hole for the candle in the bottle of the pumpkin rather than the top means you can keep the stem intact and connected to the rest of the squash, which can help maintain the structural integrity of your pumpkin and make the jack-o'-lantern lighting process even easier. Just light your candle and set the pumpkin right on top, no lid necessary.

And as Babs, Garner's inspiration, notes, leaving the stem intact also makes it easier to hold the pumpkin still in your lap, which can help you get the angle you need to clean it out, especially if you've chosen an especially big one. Babs' video is full of even more pumpkin wisdom—including the idea of putting cinnamon in the top of your pumpkin to make it smell like the sweet spices of fall as the candle burns below.

No matter how successful you are in your lantern design, you can rest assured that you'll at least get some delicious seeds out of it—and you might even win the neighborhood decorating contest.