Halloween Pumpkin Carving Tips and Tricks
For kids and adults alike, Halloween pumpkin carving can be a fun tradition and even an artistic outlet. There are plenty of free patterns available online, whether you’re up for the challenges of complicated portraiture, or just in the mood for a simple smiling Jack with triangular eyes. Follow this guide on how to carve a pumpkin for your own pumpkin project, or to help your kids carve their own Halloween pumpkin.
How to Carve a Pumpkin: What you’ll need
-A pattern for your pumpkin’s design. Download one for free, buy a pattern book, or draw your own on printer paper.
Some websites with good free pumpkin carving patterns are:
–The Pumpkin Lady
–The Pumpkin Wizard
–Un-Halloween Pumpkin Patterns
–A Halloween pumpkin carving kit can be extremely helpful as you learn how to carve a pumpkin, as these inexpensive kits usually come with a variety of small saws that you might not have laying around your kitchen (kits can be purchased a
Even if using a Halloween pumpkin carving kit, the following can be handy:
How to Carve a Pumpkin: Preparation
1) Use a serrated knife or a saw from a Halloween pumpkin carving kit to cut around the pumpkin’s stem – a circle about 6 inches in diameter should do for most pumpkins. Angle the knife when cutting so the “lid” is supported and doesn’t fall through.
2) Use a spoon/rice paddle to remove the pumpkin’s innards. Once empty, scrape the inner walls with a metal spoon till they’re around 1 ½ inches thick. This will make it easier to carve detailed shapes.
4) Cut slits into the corners of the pattern, to help the paper “hug” the round surface of the pumpkin. Position the pattern on the most even, unmarred side of the pumpkin, keeping it as flat against the surface as possible, and tape it on.
Or, alternately, just use a Sharpie to draw your pattern directly onto the pumpkin, and skip the next two steps.
5) Use the “hole-poking” tool from a kit, an ice pick, or a toothpick to punch holes along the pattern’s lines. Now, when the pattern is removed, you have a guide of where to carve your lines.
6) Untape the pattern, but keep it for reference – you’ll only have the tiny holes in the skin to go by as you carve the pumpkin.
How to Carve a Pumpkin: Finally, the carving!
7) Carefully start cutting along the lines. A paring knife should work for most areas, but for more detailed sections, a narrow steak knife, X-Acto knife, or small saw from a kit or your toolbox can help. Toothpicks are good for tricky areas like eyes. As you finish each area, gently push the loose pieces of pumpkin so they fall out inside.
8) Clean up the edges, discard loose pumpkin chunks, insert a tea candle, and put the lid back on. Turn out the lights and enjoy your creation!
Warning: A child should never carve a pumpkin unattended: slippery knives are dangerous, and tools from Halloween pumpkin carving kits can be flimsy. Halloween pumpkin carving should always be supervised.