How to Carve a Jack O’ Lantern Pumpkin

I’ve always wanted to carve a pumpkin out because they are so cool! My husband lived in America for a few years of his childhood so he did this activity with the kids and they loved it.

We tried pumpkin carving last year as a family activity and I found it to be a great time with the kids…please note that this activity involves sharp implements that are made for slicing and the carving part is best done by an adult. The kids had great fun designing the faces for the pumpkins and scooping out all the pumpkin entrails and seeds.

1. Choose your pumpkin

Jack O’ Lantern pumpkins are the best for carving as opposed to the regular ‘eating’ pumpkins (such as Jap or Kent) and are characteristically orange and round. The size and shape of the pumpkin is an individual choice however it is best to inspect the pumpkin to ensure that is has a good ‘face’ for carving and is large enough to fit a tea light inside.

2. Cut out the lid

Use a large knife to cut out a circular lid at the top of the pumpkin. The keys here are to always bevel the cut inwards by making the cuts on a slight angle so the lid will not fall in and to make it large enough to easily access the inside of the pumpkin when placing the light source.

how to carve a decorative pumpkin

How to carve a pumpkin - Jack O' Lantern

How to carve a pumpkin - Jack O' Lantern

3. Scoop out the insides

The kids loved this part! Just take a tablespoon/serving spoon and scoop out all the seeds and loose ‘flesh’, when you start getting to the firm wall of the pumpkin you have done enough

how to carve a pumpkin -- cleaning it out

4. Start carving

The design possibilities are endless here and the children can get involved by drawing the faces with markers or crayons before mum or dad start to carve. We experimented with some circular designs using a regular cordless drill and hole saws bits of varying sizes. We also made a few different faces using a small sharp knife.

how to carve a decorative pumpkin

pumpkin carving - how to carve a pumpkin or jack-o-lantern

5. Install the light

Tea lights work perfectly, but there are a variety of different light sources that could be utilised for this job, including battery operated lights. 

pumpkin carving - how to carve a pumpkin

pumpkin carving how to carve a pumpkin

how to carve a pumpkin -- drill holes

decorative pumpkin carving -- use a drill

The pumpkins do rot and last about a week, make sure to incorporate this into your plans.

Non-carving Pumpkin Decorating Options

While I was at it, the children and I did mini- pumpkin decorating for the table.  Simple thumbtacks pushed into the pumpkin skin and diamante stickers. 

non-carving pumpkin idea

non-carving pumpkin decorating ideas

non carving options - pumpkin carving

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