It turns out they are! How do we know? Researchers at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, enlisted a few helping hands. Literally.

In a 2004 study, they placed the donated hands of six cadavers in front of a knife-wielding hydraulic press. After calculating how much pressure each carving tool needed to penetrate pumpkin skin, the researchers gauged how easily the utensils could slice the cadaver’s hands. Indeed, they found that the specialty tools were less likely to lacerate flesh at the required pumpkin-penetrating pressure than standard kitchen knives.

This story originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of mental_floss magazine. Subscribe to our print edition here, and our iPad edition here.