Pumpkin Carving Tips
- How to Choose – Choose pumpkins in a variety of sizes. One side of each pumpkin should be well-shaped for carving. Avoid any with large blemishes, since they may rot more quickly.
- Design Ideas – Draw your ideas on blank paper until you have a design that you like, and that you think will fit well on the shape of each pumpkin. Using your drawing as a guide, lightly draw the design onto the pumpkin with a washable marker. You can also use stencils for more elaborate patterns. Many are available online and in carving kits.
- Create an Opening – Cut out the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp. A large spoon may help with this step. Save the pumpkin seeds if you plan to roast them.
- Time to Carve! Gently push your knife into the pumpkin and use a sawing motion to cut out the shapes. Go very slowly as you near the end of a pattern, so you don’t cut farther than intended. As the pieces are cut, push them until they drop inside the pumpkin. Then reach in and remove them. Larger areas like the mouth shape will need to be cut out in pieces.
- Add the Candle – Test your jack-’o-lantern by placing a candle inside on the bottom of the pumpkin. Light the candle, replace the pumpkin lid and turn off the lights. If the candle won’t stay lit, carve some of the shapes a bit larger, to let in more air flow.
- Now put your jack-‘o-lantern near your front door, and remember to blow out the candle before going back inside.
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – What to do with the pumpkin seeds? Roast them as a snack! Try our recipe for homemade roasted pumpkin seeds.
No Carve Ideas for Decorating Pumpkins
Polka Dotted Pumpkin –
Choose three paint colors that go well together.
Paint circles all over the pumpkin, alternating the three different colors.
When finished, you will have a polka dot design.
This idea looks great in groups of three pumpkins. If you decide to make a group, choose pumpkins with different sizes and colors for a more interesting display.
Leaf Shapes –
Collect several attractive leaves to use as your guide.
Hold a leaf against the pumpkin, and trace around it.
Trace as many leaves as you wish, to create a good design.
Then paint the leaves using different paint colors.
Kitty Cat Pumpkin –
You can use either a black permanent marker or paint for this design.
Turn your pumpkin on its side and draw a cat face on the bottom.
Include eyes, nose, mouth and whiskers.
Attach two triangles of colored craft foam to a toothpick or wooden skewer. These will be the ears.
Press the ears into the pumpkin. Set the pumpkin against a step to hold it in place.
Glowing Black Pumpkin –
For a different take on pumpkin decorating, try this design.
Use a foam craft pumpkin from the craft store and cut a hole out of the bottom. This provides an opening for clear xmas lights.
Then drill holes all over the pumpkin using a drill.
After the holes are drilled, cover the whole pumpkin with glossy black spray paint.
Try it, the effect when the lights shine through all the holes is really unique.
Mummy Pumpkin –
Draw two black oval eyes on your pumpkin.
Or you can use large googly eyes.
Then wrap the pumpkin in first aid gauze to resemble a mummy, leaving the eyes peeking out through the gauze.