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Pumpkin Carving - Master The Jack-O-Lantern

Updated on September 4, 2015

Pumpkin Carving - Master The Jack-O-Lantern

Halloween is a crazy, spooky time for all goblins to come out and shine. Get your scare on and carve a Jack-O-Lantern with a few tools around the house, a simple template, and a nice-healthy looking pumpkin, of course. When little trick-or-treaters come around, your Jack-O-Lantern will get ooh's and ahh's from little tikes and parents alike.

Pumpkins are also great to keep around for Thanksgiving. Everything fall-like comes out this time of year including the autumn leaves, the Thanksgiving tablecloth, the extra leaf in the dining room table to hold all the visiting family and friends that gather. What a great time of year. I love the holidays. Don't forget your holiday pumpkin. Use a simple template of a happy pumpkin or better yet, create a turkey carving on your pumpkin and proudly dislay it next to the cornucopia or indian corn or fall leaves that are part of the centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table.

Jack is waiting.

The steps to carving out a pumpkin are not that difficult. You have probably carved a nice scary looking Jack-O-Lantern in the past. Here are a few secrets to help you in becoming a master carver. These few tid-bits on the proper way to cut, handle, and extend the life of your carved pumpkin will allow you to take full advantage of the Halloween season fun. Get the kids involved and let them help with a few of the steps.

Detailed Pumpkin Carving -The Jay-O-Lantern

Detailed Pumpkin Carving -The Jay-O-Lantern
Detailed Pumpkin Carving -The Jay-O-Lantern

Carving a Pumpkin

Tools and Other Fun Stuff

You will need:

1) A pumpkin

2) A good boning knife.

3) An icecream scoop.

4) A small saw.

5) Petroleum jelly.

6) Cinnamon

Carving a Pumpkin - Master the Technique

Step 1:

Choose a pumpkin that looks healthy.

The pumpkin should have no bruises.

The stem should be sturdy.

The bottom should be relatively flat so it will show your work and stand level.

Tips for the Top

Step 2:

Cut the top of the pumpkin to make a lid.

Cut at an angle so the top won't fall into the pumpkin when you're done.

Use the boning knife.

Pumpkin Pulp

Step 3:

Take off the lid and scoop out the pulp inside.

Use an ice-cream scoop or a claw that you can purchase as part of a carving set.

Thin the inner wall of the face or front area to about an inch thick, making it easier to make the face.

Clean Carving

Step 4:

Carve out the face.

Use a small saw to make the details of whatever design you choose.

There are many templates available or you can make your own.

Hold the pumpkin in your lap with the face looking up at you.

Depending on the look you are trying to achieve, try to cut straight through and not at an angle unless the template calls for it.

The Icing on the err...Pumpkin

Long Live Jack

Final Steps:

Once you have finished carving out the design on your pumpkin, use petroleum jelly where the cuts were made to seal in the moisture.

If your carved pumpkin starts to shrivel up after a few days, soak it face down in cold water for a few hours to bring it back to life.

If you like to leave the top on while the candle is lit, make a small hole in the top to release the heat. Place the lid on the pumpkin with the candle lit. Lift up the lid to see where it has blackened, then cut a small hole at that spot.

Here's one more trick (or maybe it's a treat).

Sprinkle the inside of the lid with cinnamon. When you light up the jack-o-lantern, it will smell like pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Carving Video

Extreme Pumpkins II

Extreme Pumpkins II: Take Back Halloween and Freak Out a Few More Neighbors
Extreme Pumpkins II: Take Back Halloween and Freak Out a Few More Neighbors

The outrageous follow-up to last Halloween’s surprise bestseller.

From the power-tool wielding author of the national bestselling Extreme Pumpkins and the popular website comes a new collection of even darker, creepier, and more outrageous do-it-yourself designs to impress friends and horrify neighbors. The demented designs include Projectile Sneeze Pumpkin, Baseball-in-the-Eye Pumpkin, Doll-Eating Pumpkin, and Full-Diaper Baby Pumpkin, along with cool gourd designs, practical jokes, and more. This gleefully gory guide reclaims Halloween from the cheerful, the cutesy, and the parent-sanctioned.


Extreme Pumpkins

I went on to this guys website and there are a lot of cool things going on. You can view last year's 2007 Halloween Extreme Pumpkin Contest Winner's cool looking pumkin ideas. There are some neat ideas Extreme Pumpkins Contest Ideas. You can order the book and keep it as a resource for making extremely intricate and cool looking carved pumpkins. Amazon has it for a great price.

Pumpkin Carving Necessities

Pumpkin Carving Kit - Basic steps to use the tools in this kit. Product Description

Even the least artistic among us can have the coolest jack-o'-lanterns in the neighborhood this year with Dremel's pumpkin- carving kit. It's a neat, buzzy little unit that carves off layers of pumpkin flesh to let the light glow through. It isn't meant to cut all the way through the pumpkin, and the effect is perfectly spooky. Powered by four AA batteries, it's got two speeds for superior pumpkin-stock removal, 6,000 and 12,000 rpm, so it's not a child's toy.

Follow the steps above to carve out the top and clear out the pulp.

Next :

Turn the tool on low and begin tracing the areas to be removed.

You can use the high setting for large area material removal. The key is to remove approximately the same amount of material on your whole pumpkin to achieve a uniform depth.


Once you've finished, remove the paper template, place a light source, such as a candle, in the pumpkin, dim the lights, and see how well the light shines through your carving.

If you want more light to shine through, turn the lights back on, remove the candle and remove additional material from your pumpkin.

Printable Templates are available from Dremel

Intricately Carved Pumpkin

Pumpkin Carving Comments - What do ya think?

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    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Great Lens with good explanation of how to do it. I never knew, but now I do. Thanks for sharing. Like the idea of the cinnamon.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Great tips on Pumpkin Carving

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • Music-Resource profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi SunnyDaze: Amazing Pumpkin Carving lens you've created, nicely done. The kit looks very useful and love the Extreme Pumpkins series :) ~Music Resource~


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