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How to Carve a Pumpkin for Halloween

Published by Shannon Majocka

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What is Halloween without a jack o’ lantern? Carving a pumpkin for Halloween is a simple and fun activity for kids of all ages. Lucky for parents, it is a relatively cheap one as well. All you need are a few supplies, most of which can be found around the house. Here, I’ll explain the basics of carving the perfect pumpkin for Halloween in just five easy steps.


  • Pumpkin
  • Knife
  • Marker
  • Large spoon
  • A bag or something for trash
  • Candle
  • Lighter or matches
  1. Cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin and pull the top off. When you do there will be seeds stuck to it. No worries! Just scrape them off and throw them out. Be sure you save the top for later though. You’ll want to put it back on when you’re finished carving.
  2. Use a large spoon to dig the seeds and what my dad used to refer to as “guts” out of the pumpkin. We always kept a paper grocery sack on hand to throw all the insides in as we went. It allows for easier clean up in the end. The kids will probably get a kick out of digging through the slimy mess inside the pumpkin, so be sure to let them help with this step.
  3. Use a marker to draw a face on the outside of your pumpkin. Remember that you’re going to be carving the face out of the pumpkin, so draw shapes instead of just lines. Typically, triangles are used for the eyes and sometimes a nose, but you can get as creative as you like. The mouth can be as simple as an upside down half circle, or you can go all out and give your jack o’ lantern teeth too.
  4. Once you’ve drawn the perfect face for your jack o’ lantern, use a knife to cut out the face. (Unless the kids are older, this is a step parents may want to take over.) Simply follow along the lines you’ve drawn and chunks should come loose, leaving the shapes for the face. Throw out the chunks along with the seeds.
  5. After you’ve finished carving your pumpkin, place a candle inside. Wait until it’s dark, and take your pumpkin outside on the porch. Using a lighter or matches, light the candle and place the top of the pumpkin back on top. The face will glow and you’re all done!



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