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How to Host a Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest at Home for All Ages

Updated on October 22, 2012
Pumpkin carving is fun for any age.
Pumpkin carving is fun for any age. | Source

Having a Halloween party or get-together at home? Or are you planning a whole house full of people during the fall months? Have a Halloween pumpkin carving contest at home and make a party out of it. Here are some simple ideas for a Halloween pumpkin carving party. After the mini pumpkins have been carved, line them up for judging after creating them, then have the guests take the small Jack-o-lanterns home for holiday candle votives. If you can't find the mini pumpkins, use several large pumpkins for teams to build.

If you have many little kids around and would rather not actually carve the pumpkins, simply decorate them! Use craft glues, markers, paint, googly-eyes, feathers, sequins, ribbons, seasonal stickers, and whatever else you have in the craft chest to decorate the pumpkins with instead.

Thinks you'll need in advance:

  • Mini pumpkins
  • Candles (tea candles work best)
  • Pumpkin carving tools, for carving them
  • Glue, crafting supplies, and markers, if decorating them
  • Long table with a Halloween print table cloth if displaying for judging

It's a good idea to create samples of mini pumpkins already carved and on display. If you're not carving them, then decorate several fun and festive faces for examples. If carving them, then prior to the guests arriving, hollow out each pumpkin.

When all the guests have arrived and are ready to carve the pumpkins, give each a hollowed out mini pumpkin and let them carve a face or other designs. Have pencils on hand for drawing the faces on them first.

Place the finished pumpkins on a display table as they are finished. When everyone is done, and choose a winner. Do this by voting a crowd or party favorite, most scary, most funny, most unique, most festive, etc. Be creative.

If you are having a dinner party or buffet dinner afterwards, present them at dinner later. Place all of the Jack-o-lanterns on display and put them to use. On tables the carved out pumpkins make festive Halloween votives. Do this by placing tea candles inside them, and dim all the lights to allow the light to shine from the pumpkins.

Having a dinner party and still want the mini pumpkin carving contest without having the guests do it at your house? Have each guest bring a hollowed out and fully carved pumpkin to the dinner party instead of a hostess or host gift. Use these to decorate the room and allow each to be judged for different criteria already set up in the invitation (or leave as a surprise to the guests): best use of ribbon, best face, spookiest pumpkin, most elaborate and biggest dud. Make each one a winner. Place candles in them and place outside for the guests to view as they leave.

While some may take the competition to extreme, remember that some people are not as physically adept in creating crafts so the focus should be on effort and uniqueness. As with all parties, the main job is involve everyone and encourage everyone to have a great time.


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  • carcro profile image

    Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

    What a great idea! We usually carve our pumpkins a few days before the big day, but it would be great to share the fun. And times getting closer to the big day, so really glad I read your hub today. Thanks for sharing!

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