How to Carve a Pumpkin

carved pumpkins

Get Halloween ready this season with our simple pumpkin carving tips to help you create the coolest, spookiest pumpkin around. We’ll show you how to pick the right pumpkin and clean it, give you tips and tricks on how carve it and even show you how to preserve it so you can enjoy it for longer this Halloween.  

Skill Level: Beginner
Time:
  1. Step 1 Choose the Perfect Pumpkin

    pumpkins sitting on steps

    The first step in creating a great Halloween pumpkin is to make sure you’ve got a good pumpkin to work with. Round, medium-sized pumpkins should be good for most carvings. Your pumpkin should be a consistent orange colour, free of bruises or nicks and should sit flat on the ground. 

  2. Step 2 Scoop Out Pumpkin Filling

    person scooping out filling of pumpkin with a spoon

    Cut a hole in the top of your pumpkin in any shape you like, but ensure that you bevel it inward, so that you can place it back on top and it won’t fall into the pumpkin. Using a pumpkin scoop or spoon, start removing the filling and place it on a separate surface so you can separate the seeds later if you’d like to roast them. The idea is to make the inside of your pumpkin smooth and free of any strings of filling so that your lights can shine inside without being obstructed.    

  3. Step 3 Carve Your Pumpkin

    carved pumpkin

    One of the most fun parts of pumpkin carving for beginners, is drawing your design onto the face of your pumpkin with a sharpie or pen. Be as creative as you want. You can even find designs online or in most pumpkin carving kits. Once your design is drawn on, use a jab saw or serrated knife to start carving out your details. 

  4. Step 4 Work on the Details

    person carving pumpkin

    Use simple shapes like triangles and squares to make a traditional, smiling jack-o-lantern or start making your own scary faces or scenes by carving more intricately. You can even sand the pumpkin away in parts using a Dremel to allow light to come through for shading. Another neat trick is to use a drill to create holes of varying sizes that will look great once your light shines through, giving you a unique look and a pumpkin that is sure to stand out among the rest.

  5. Step 5 Preserve your Carved Halloween Pumpkin

    person applying petroleum jelly to carved surfaces

    Pumpkins traditionally last about 2 weeks, but you can keep them looking great even longer by applying petroleum jelly to the carved surfaces. This will slow down their decay and allow you to carve your pumpkins earlier in the season and enjoy them for longer.    

  6. Step 6 Light up your Carved Pumpkin

    person putting LED candles in the carved pumpkins

    No pumpkin is complete without being lit up for all to see. Use a candle for a traditional look but be sure to keep an eye on it and never leave it burning overnight. Alternatively, you can use an LED light. These are great options because they don’t produce any heat, making them safe to leave on for long periods without worry. You can also get them in different colours and completely customize your pumpkin with cool lighting effects.    

What You Need for This Project

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