A hands-on experiment, or rather, an experiment on hands,tried to determine the safety of pumpkin carving tools. Details are in the study:
“The Safety of Pumpkin Carving Tools,” Alexander M. Marcus, Jason K. Green, and Frederick W. Werner, Preventive Medicine, vol. 38, 2004, pp. 799–803. (Thanks to investigator Kurt Verkest for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Orthopedic Associates of Central Jersey, Edison, New Jersey, and at State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, report:
Methods. Two pumpkin carving knives were compared to a serrated and a plain kitchen knife. The forces required to cut and pierce a pumpkin were determined and then applied by a servo-hydraulic machine to each knife placed against cadaver hands in a manner designed to either lacerate Zone 2 of the finger (six tests for each knife) or to puncture the hand. Inspection and dissection determined the extent of injury.
Results. The pumpkin knives produced some injuries, however, they were fewer and less severe than those caused by the kitchen knives.
BONUS: A possibly safer way to carve pumpkins, involving a gun.