Halloween: How To Carve A Pumpkin

pumpkin carving

So you’re ready to carve your pumpkin?

Congratulations in joining the ranks of many who rank pumpkin carving as one of their favorite Halloween activities. To avoid a huge mess you’ll have to clean up later, the first thing you’ll need to do is prepare your workspace.

Choosing Your Pumpkin Carving Space

Select a flat work area. Lay down several layers of newspaper being sure to overlap them. This stuff is sure to get a little on the messy side. :-)

Gather Your Supplies

  • Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Carving Kit or Your choice of cutting/carving implements
  • Strong spoon for removing slimy guts pumpkin flesh
  • Something to trace the design on your pumpkin-Marker, pencil, etc.
  • Nail, push pin or something to poke your pumpkin, if you’re using a stencil
  • Somewhere to throw all the ooey-gooey insides – trashbag works great
  • Candles, glowsticks, battery operated tea light or whatever you want to use to light it up.

Preparing Your Pumpkin for Carving

Turn your pumpkin on its side. Using your permanent marker, draw a large circle on the bottom of the pumpkin. Be sure it’s large enough to fit a large spoon and your hand inside. By cutting out the bottom (instead of the top) you’ll make it easier to place your light source in it. Using your large butcher knife carefully cut out the circle. Make note of the best side for carving your chosen design or face.

Let the Pumpkin Carving Mess Fun Begin

It’s time to clean out your pumpkin. Using your hands, scoop out the guts seeds and put them in the garbage bag, unless you want to put them in a bowl for later roasting. Now take your spoon and scrape out the meat making sure to remove a little extra on the side you’ll be carving the face.

Create Your Pumpkin’s Face

After the pumpkin has been cleaned out, it is time to draw the design of your choice. Use a semi-permanent marker or a pencil and draw your design on the pumpkin.

If you don’t have an artistic mind it’s ok. If you’re using a toolkit then you may have designs included.  Otherwise just look up pumpkin carving design on the internet and make your choice.  Take a copy of the design and place it over the pumpkin. Secure this with masking tape. With a needle, push pin or nail, start poking small holes through the paper and into the pumpkin. Make sure you do them close enough as this is the pattern from which you will carve.

Now, Carve Your Pumpkin

Preparation pays off. Now, let’s get carving this pumpkin. Be very careful while carving!  We’d hate it if a slip of the knife ruined your design or cause injury. With your paring knife or other preferred choice of carving tool, carve along the pattern lines cutting all the way through the rind. Cut away from yourself and into the pumpkin. After each feature has been cut out slowly push out the cut pieces from inside the pumpkin.

Hint: Keep your blades as sharp as possible to ensure accuracy and ease of carving.

Time To Clean Up

Take your newspaper and fold it over on all sides, keeping your pumpkin innards on the inside. Once folded, throw it in the trash can or garbage bag.

Congratulations! You’ve now carved your pumpkin. Once you’ve finished and cleaned up the mess, place that baby out on the front porch and add your lighting. Show it off for the entire neighborhood to see and don’t forget to take a picture and show it to us! We want to see your creativity!

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  1. I LOVE pumpkins! I don’t know what it is about them that makes me love them so, but I do. I love the way they look, feel and smell. I love to pick one and feel the skin and the weight of it. It’s a weird thing I know. I also love to set them out on my porch for a few days before carving them because I really like the way they look uncarved. Thanks for the easy to follow instructions!


  1. [...] your pumpkin you may be interested in carving it.  We have easy-to-follow instructions on our How To Carve A Pumpkin post. More From TracyHalloween: How To Carve A PumpkinSimple & Easy: Homemade Halloween [...]

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