Pumpkin carving and displaying Jack-o-lanterns is an age-old tradition enjoyed annually by young and old alike. (click here for our post “History of the Jack-o-lantern”) Whether you are or holding a pumpkin carving party with your friends or just this Although carving a Jack-o- Lantern might seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be – you really don’t need to be that crafty to create something spectacularly spooky!
Most people now use carving kit carve out their pumpkins. A pumpkin carving kit generally has a few different saws – one to cut the top/bottom off the pumpkin, and smaller ones to cut the design out. Most also have a pick to punch holes and a flesh scraping tool.
Pumpkin Masters has pumpkin carving kits that both you and the kiddos can utilize. Their kits, like the one pictured to the left, include tons of unique patterns and come with all the tools to help put together the perfect creation. They also offer additional carving patterns for free on their website, which is great for if you’re looking for something special or to create something different year after year!
Now that you know where to find the tools you will need, see our guide below. We’ve simplified the steps and included some useful tips on how to carve the perfect pumpkin this Halloween!
Step by Step Guide to Pumpkin Carving
- Cut a Hole in the Pumpkin. This is a job for Adults children should not handle knives, saws or other sharp tools. Cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin that is large enough to fit your hand into. Insert the knife on an angle to prevent your lid from falling into the pumpkin.
Slice off the stringy flesh from the underside of your Jack-o-Lantern lid.
- Scoop out flesh, pulp, and seeds. Remove the seeds and stringy bits first – no better way to do this than by getting your hands dirty! Separate and set aside the seeds for roasting and reserve the flesh to make pumpkin pie. Then start removing the flesh. Scrape the inside walls of the pumpkin clean with a plaster scraper or fleshing tool. Pay most attention to the areas you will be carving, you want areas where you will cut through the pumpkin in your design to be about ½” thick.
- Transfer Your Design to your pumpkin. Use a marker, a pencil, or stencil to draw a design on your pumpkin. Download and print template or pick up a kit that has stencils included. With scissors, cut away excess part of template. Attach design to pumpkin with masking tape. Using a thumbtack, pushpin or T pin, prick every 1/4 inch along outlines of template. Some patterns have dots on them to guide you, or just go along at short intervals. Remove template but keep it nearby for reference during carving.
- Carve your masterpiece. When the pattern is marked out, you can start carving. Remove the template and carve along the pattern outline with a miniature saw or linoleum carving tool, depending on desired depth. Start with the outside of the design and work inward. You can also start with the small intricate sections first, and then the larger sections. Work carefully and slowly and refer to the pattern if you become confused at all the dots in front of you!
No matter what your style, it’s time to get started and allow your creative side to come out. Happy Carving!