ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Pumpkin Carving

Updated on October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

I started carving pumpkins by myself when I was in middle school. I remember taking my time to get it just right and being so proud of my work. In 8th grade I entered a Jack-o-lantern contest at school and won!  One of my teachers liked it so much he asked to bring it home. It was a carving of a cat's face. It took a while to complete but with a pattern and the right tools it wasn't all that hard to make. I let him take it and then I made another one for my house. :)

The pumpkin in the intro photo is a unicorn carving. My daughter was dressing up as a unicorn for Halloween and wanted our pumpkin to match. I guess it's a cross between a pegasus and a unicorn, since it has wings. ;)

Below you'll find tips, tools and patterns to help you carve your Jack-o-lantern. I hope this lens gives you some great ideas for Halloween.

Cat's Face Carving - My Jack O' Lantern for Halloween 2007

curated from my Flickr account


These were the two patterns mentioned above. The cat and the unicorn.

The pattern book that I use, and that I've had since my middle school days, is Carve-O-Lantern: A Unique Way to Carve Your Halloween Pumpkins produced by Pumpkin Ltd.

Time to Start!

The first three steps.

Step #1: Picking out your stencil.

If you want to create a detailed Jack O'Lantern you'll want to use a stencil. You can buy them, print out free stencils, or draw your own by hand or on your computer.

Step #2: Cutting the top of the pumpkin.

As you cut, angle the knife in toward the center of the pumpkin so the lid you are creating will have something to rest on. I cut in a circle but like to add a square notched "key" in the lid so it can always be put back in the right position.

Step #3: Cleaning out the pumpkin.

Remove all of the pulp from inside the pumpkin. Separate the seeds into a bowl if you want to roast pumpkin seeds. I love pumpkin seeds! Make sure to scrape the inside of the pumpkin as clean as you can. Wipe down the outside when you are finished.

Basic Carving Tools

You'll want pokers and a few different size mini saws if you are using a pattern to carve your pumpkin.

1 X Brass and Walnut Pro Pumpkin Carving Tool Kit by Warren Cutlery
1 X Brass and Walnut Pro Pumpkin Carving Tool Kit by Warren Cutlery

4 1/2" black walnut handle with brass three way chuck, 6 blades, and a lock-jaw wrench.


What's Next?

Step #4: Transferring the image onto the pumpkin.

Tape the stencil to the face of the pumpkin. Start at the top, then the bottom and end at the sides. You may have to fold the stencil a bit to get it to fit the shape of your pumpkin. That's ok just try to make the creases where the pattern will be the least effected.

Using a poker tool, follow around your pattern in 1/8th inch intervals by pressing the tip into the pumpkin. You are creating the guidelines to cut later with a saw. Make sure to mark every corner and use enough pressure to pierce the pumpkins skin. You'll need to be able to see the marks clearly so you know exactly where to cut. When you finish with the stencil carefully remove it so you can refer back to it if need be.

Kits from Disney

Paper Magic Group Pumpkin Carving Kit, Disney Fairies
Paper Magic Group Pumpkin Carving Kit, Disney Fairies

Includes plastic scoop, punch, small saw, and 7 Disney Fairies theme stencil patterns.

Disney Princesstrade; Pumpkin Stencil Book
Disney Princesstrade; Pumpkin Stencil Book

Includes 7 Disney Princess theme stencil patterns.


Finishing Up

The final 3 steps

Step #5: Carving the Jack O'Lantern.

Start with the smallest shape that will be removed. Using a small carving saw, push the tip of the blade into the pumpkin and start following the dots. Use short back and forth sawing motions. Don't rush and pay close attention to corners. Gently push out the pieces you cut. Make sure the check the inside of the pumpkin when you are finished and clean out any pieces that have fallen in.

Step #6: Protecting the Jack O'Lantern.

When I'm done carving the pumpkin I coat all of the cut surfaces with petroleum jelly. I don't do the inside, but if you want to keep your Jack O'Lantern for a while it is best to coat the inside as well. This helps keep the pumpkin from drying out too soon. You don't want a shriveled up moldy pumpkin right away after all of your hard work!

Step #7: Mmm Mmm Good

If you have cinnamon handy sprinkle some on the underside of the lid. When the candle is lit and it warms up the pumpkin your jack-o'-lantern will smell like pumpkin pie.

Patterns for Sports Fans - NFL & MLB

MLB Chicago White Sox Pumpkin Carving Kit
MLB Chicago White Sox Pumpkin Carving Kit

Comes with six Chicago White Sox patterns, glue stick, carving tool, and pumpkin scoop.

NFL New England Patriots Pumpkin Carving Kit
NFL New England Patriots Pumpkin Carving Kit

Comes with six New England Patriots patterns, glue stick, carving tool, and pumpkin scoop.


Floating Pumpkin Carving Kit

Floating Pumpkin Carving Kit

Includes 1 scoop, 1 safety knife, and 1 pumpkin hanging system.

Sensational Shadows Pumpkin Pattern Book - From Pumpkin Masters

Sensational Shadows Pumpkin Carving Pattern Book

Includes 8 different pumpkin patterns with shadows.

A Fantasy Pumpkin - The Midnight Hour

This was originally posted on which has since ceased publication.

What You'll Need:

1- 12" tall pumpkin
4- 4" tall gourds
4- ornate drawer pulls
3- ornate metal belt buckles
1- ornate lamp finial
2- 1/4" dowel rods (cut to the approx. diameter of your pumpkin)
Pencil or marker
Craft glue
Heavy-gauge florist's wire
Cordless drill fitted with 1/4" bit


1. Trace the inside of each belt buckle onto the pumpkin and cut to create openings for two windows and a door.

2. Glue the hardware over the openings.

3. Remove or cut down the stem until it's even with the flesh of the pumpkin, and twist the finial into the top.

4. Drill a hole through the center of each gourd.

5. Insert one dowel rod into the holes of two gourds to create an axle, and secure with glue. Repeat to create a second set of wheels.

6. Finish off all four wheels by inserting a drawer pull into the outside hole of each gourd for hubcaps.

7. Line up the two sets of wheels next to each other at about the same width as your pumpkin. Then wrap wire from one dowel rod to the other to fasten the axles together and to create a webbing for the pumpkin carriage to sit on.

8. Gently place your carriage on the wire.

For illustrated instructions take a look this Pumpkinhowto.pdf

Pumpkin Stands

Pumpkin Stand
Pumpkin Stand

26" x 32" x 30"


Pumpkin Seeds!

Every year I look up how to cook pumpkin seeds on multiple websites and every one has something different to say. I haven't been able to find a sure fire way to roast them. I've seen varying temperatures to set the stove and varying lengths of time to leave them in.

This is what I used last year. If you have your own pumpkin roasting experiment let me know the results! I really want to find the perfect "recipe".

Ingredients: seeds from 1 pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of butter, and salt.

Instructions: Place the seeds in a strainer and rinse them. Drain them and let them dry. Preheat Oven to 250 degrees. Melt the butter and coat the pumpkin seeds. Place the seeds 1 layer deep on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle them with salt. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown, stirring 2 to 3 times.

An alternative to carving - Mr. Potato Head Pumpkin Decorating Kits

Paper Magic Group Mrs. Potato Head Witch Pumpkin Push-in
Paper Magic Group Mrs. Potato Head Witch Pumpkin Push-in

Includes: witch hat, ears, earrings, eyes, nose, mouth, arms (one with attached broomstick), cauldron, and shoes.

Vampire Pumpkin Kit Decoration
Vampire Pumpkin Kit Decoration

Includes: ears, eyebrows, eyes, arms, nose, mouth, and shoes.


Pumpkin Carving on Squidoo

While it's home was on Squidoo, this page was chosen as Lens of the Day on October 23rd 2008 and again on October 29th 2011.

It was also the most visited lens on Squidoo October 29-31, 2007.

Do you have any pumpkin carving tips to share?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      Isn't that something; I have a Dremel and never thought about using it on a pumpkin, but sure, that would make some of the intricate cuts easier. We never did much in the way of innovative cutting like you do, but it's lovely or scary to look at.

    • profile image

      KarenCookieJar 4 years ago

      I carve pumpkins every year, this year I did a ghost.

    • profile image

      Doc_Holliday 4 years ago

      Carving can be fun - especially at this time of year ;-)

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 4 years ago from California

      I really liked your cat carving...and I've never seen a pumpkin stand before. I also learned your trick of putting petroleum jelly on the cuts. Never heard of that either. Looks like I'll be pretty well prepared next Halloween. Really enjoyed this, thank you!

    • poorwendy lm profile image

      poorwendy lm 5 years ago

      Great lens. I especially like the non-traditional carvings. It looks so artsy.

    • Yvette Munro profile image

      Yvette Munro 5 years ago

      What an awesome lens. So informative and really colorful. There are so many ideas here, my mind is working overtime.

    • Piers Parker profile image

      Piers Parker 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow! If I had found this before we did ours at the weekend I am sure we would have ended up with something better. Still it was fun. Thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great Lens :)

    • FantasticVoyages profile image

      Fantastic Voyages 5 years ago from Texas

      I like carving pumpkins the old fashion way - without a stencil. They may not look very pretty, but it still is a lot of fun.

    • ShineRita profile image

      ShineRita 5 years ago

      Nice work! I want to have a pumpkin carving for this Halloween! Great lens!

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      Really great ideas! Blessed

    • fathomblueEG profile image

      fathomblueEG 5 years ago

      Super neat lens:-)

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      Ooo, I really love that pumpkin coach!! Carving pumpkins is such fun, can't wait to do ours!

    • SilmarwenLinwelin profile image

      SilmarwenLinwelin 5 years ago

      Great ideas! well done!

    • DLeighAlexander profile image

      DLeighAlexander 5 years ago

      Carving pumpkins is such a fun activity. It's a great way to celebrate Fall, the harvest, and a cooler season. You have some great tips here. ~angel blessed :)

    • SanPedroBJJ profile image

      SanPedroBJJ 5 years ago


    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very nicely put together.

    • latishaalford profile image

      latishaalford 5 years ago

      Very nice lens

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 5 years ago from Covington, LA

      I really like all the stencils. Such great ideas!

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

      sweetstickyrainbo 5 years ago

      cute lens

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Wonderful pumpkin carving tips! I like carving my favorite sports team. Blessed**

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow this lens is realy amazing!Love the ideas

    • EdwardZhang profile image

      EdwardZhang 5 years ago

      Hey, Amazing Ideas ! I like A Fantasy Pumpkin - The Midnight Hour is Awesome. Thanks for sharing cool lens.

    • profile image

      SkiLoverAlpine 5 years ago

      That's some talent you have there! Very cool.

    • Louidam1 LM profile image

      Louidam1 LM 5 years ago

      This lens is helpful because I've never craved pumpkins before.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Popping in with some blessings for the beautiful pumpkins!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Awesome Halloween lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Haven't tried this thing with pumpkin thanks for lens

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      That kitty face is cute!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Always great to have first-hand advice. Nice work.

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 5 years ago

      no tips, sorry, i carve only digital :-)

    • deckdesign profile image

      deckdesign 5 years ago

      Awesome job on this lens on pumpkin carving tips. I can't wait now to start carving.

    • MEDerby profile image

      MEDerby 5 years ago

      The cat pumpkin is awesome. I am going to try it this Halloween.

    • Srena44 profile image

      Srena44 6 years ago

      great lens

    • profile image

      JennySui 6 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! You really deserve it.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Congrats on you LOTD!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 6 years ago

      I really like that fantasy pumpkin one that is way cool.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 6 years ago

      Congrats on the LOTD. This is a great lens.

    • profile image

      RitikaSharma 6 years ago

      Nice Pumpkin Carving Lens, I just Added your Pumpkin carving lens to my Halloween Lens.Happy Halloween

    • pramodbisht profile image

      pramodbisht 6 years ago

      Nice Nens, Happy Halloween

    • SheilaVine LM profile image

      SheilaVine LM 6 years ago

      Great Lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      you should do a pineapple carving lens too lol blessed by a squid angel

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow..excellent lens, LOTD twice! Respect!

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 6 years ago

      Very nice lens. Good instructions and tips. Wish I had known about the vaseline. I quit trying to carve pumkins because they rotted so quickly. Congratulations on 2 LOTDs.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      How cool LOTD twice! Congratulations! very nice pumpkin carvings...

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 6 years ago from USA

      Excellent lens - very helpful and informative!

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 6 years ago from Ohio

      Congratulations on LOTD. I think you have the techniques well covered here!

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 6 years ago

      Use lots of newspaper underneath, then just roll itall up with the mess inside to throw away.

    • profile image

      wonderfulquotes 6 years ago

      Wow this lens is awesome! Who knew they have NFL patterns :)

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 6 years ago

      Awesome ideas!! I was just looking for something like this to do with the kids on Halloween. Thank you so much. Blessed*

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congratulations on getting Lens of the Day Christene - I am very pleased for you :D

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 6 years ago

      funs lens!

    • cryptid lm profile image

      cryptid lm 6 years ago

      This was a certainly very involved piece of writing! I actually have never carved a pumpkin in my whole 21 years of life! My parents never celebrated Halloween, so I sort of missed out on quite a lot. I am planning to try doing it this year, though. It's just the kid in me dying to get out I guess!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very well done and sharp-looking lens...congrats on double LOTD!

    • profile image

      FreelancinFran 6 years ago

      Haha I just saw one of the "Potato Head" pumpkins the other day. Great idea for anyone who wants to decorate a pumpkin but doesn't want the mess :)

    • profile image

      debsgreatfinds 6 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens Happy Halloween!

    • Asinka profile image

      Asinka Fields 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Beautiful! Congratulations ...

    • NightMagic profile image

      NightMagic 6 years ago

      A well deserved LotD. Thank you for all the tips like: adding a square notch on top, coating with petroleum jelly and sprinkling cinnamon. You learn something every day on Squidoo..

    • Shoputopian profile image

      Karnel 6 years ago from Lower Mainland of BC

      Congrats on Lotd, this was incredible...

    • profile image

      DebMartin 6 years ago

      This is a great how-to lens. I love the cat and the fantasy pumpkin. And most of all, I love roasted pumpkin seeds. Thanks!

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I love the idea of sprinkling cinnamon on the underside of the lid. Never knew about the petroleum jelly trick either. Great ideas and wonderfully presented. No wonder you've gotten LOTD twice!

    • profile image

      seomozgi 6 years ago

      Wow, amazing

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      I love the suggestion to sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on the lid ... and the Cinderella coach assemblage is really stylish. Congrats and another LOTD!

    • profile image

      mrducksmrnot 6 years ago

      I think I like the CAT best. Wonderful ideas and well layout on the how to do with the right tools. Congratulations on LOTD

    • Dragon 40 profile image

      Ken McVay 6 years ago from Nanaimo, British Columbia

      Nice work!

    • whodiesinthenew profile image

      whodiesinthenew 6 years ago

      Great fun lens! Thanks a million! :)

    • ghaelendlareh profile image

      ghaelendlareh 6 years ago

      These are great ideas and great pointers to accessories. Time to get carving!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      Fantastic carving patterns. Love your catolantern and the fantasy pumpkin. Very cool. Thanks for the ideas! Congrats on LotD! :-)

    • RaintreeAnnie profile image

      RaintreeAnnie 6 years ago from UK

      Congratulations on LOTD! Wonderful resource on pumpkin carving.

    • thecrabbynook profile image

      thecrabbynook 6 years ago

      Great Lens! Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Awesome guide - congratulations on Lens of the Day! :)

    • kjbranch77 profile image

      kjbranch77 6 years ago

      Great Stuff! Congrats on LOTD :)

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I loved the carraige pumpkin. It looks great but is easy to make. Great lens.

    • anne mohanraj profile image

      anne mohanraj 6 years ago

      Great lens! Especially the Fantasy Pumpkin!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Yes, certainly there are thousands reasons to visit here in this lens. Thanks for a fantastic work

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      Woot Woo not only a fantastic page! but a totally fantastic award to go with it too! great to see my friend Happy Halloween

    • elyria profile image

      elyria 6 years ago

      Wow, looks so amazing! I need much more practice (and many pumpkins!) in order to get such pumpkin carving talent.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      That cat design is so lovely, you really do take pumpkin carving to an art form. Congratulations on a LOTD that's just perfect for Halloween, and your second one too -- double congratulations!

    • iracer JLo profile image

      iracer JLo 6 years ago

      Great lens! I love carving pumpkins!

    • hessa johnson profile image

      hessa johnson 6 years ago

      Great ideas, especially the petroleum jelly and the cinnamon tips. Also love the fantasy pumpkin - something different for Halloween.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congrats on LOTD, Christene! Have a Happy Halloween! ^^..^^

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 6 years ago

      really well put together and informative, explains how to make some great pumpkin carving designs in a way that makes me want to give it a try

    • TagGrafx LM profile image

      TagGrafx LM 6 years ago

      Your pumpkins look way better than mine haha. I need a little more practice I guess. Have a great halloween and thanks for the tips.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 6 years ago from Virginia

      Nice job, especially like the relief carving like the flying horse.

    • profile image

      myraggededge 6 years ago

      The cinnamon tip is excellent! Fabulous pumpkin resource.

    • reflectionhaiku profile image

      reflectionhaiku 6 years ago

      Thanks for the step by step guide. I used to love carving pumpkins until the kids come along. Now I am only doing the cleaning works and not the fun stuff! But this year, we'll carve together. Your 2007 jack-o-latern looked really great!

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 6 years ago

      I think the smell cinnamon would have me baking pumpkin pie on a daily basis!

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 6 years ago

      Fun lens! Never heard of coating the pumpkin with petroleum jelly or sprinkling the underside of the lid with cinnamon. Great tips! LOVE all the carved pumpkins and lanterns and the directions for making a magic pumpkin carriage!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is a really interesting lens, makes me want to try carving a pumpkin; never tried it, thanks for sharing.

    • concept247 profile image

      concept247 6 years ago

      I really love that fantasy pumpkin Im going to try and re-create that this year I think. My top tip to share with everyone is to use tooth picks to stick back on any part you may have cut off by accident. We all make mistakes.

    • AudioHead profile image

      AudioHead 6 years ago

      Pumpkin carving is an art within itself, for the artistically challenged such as myself.......I'll take any help I can get. Nice lens :)

    • RetroMom profile image

      RetroMom 6 years ago

      That pumpkin carriage is just so cute! I cant wait for the next Halloween, I would love to give pumpkin carving a try, I think this is a wonderful activity with the kids to make. Thanks for the tips, it will surely a great help! Great piece!

    • vitar profile image

      vitar 7 years ago

      Nice lens, good job!

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 7 years ago

      PS I featured your lens on my lens titled "Top 10 Halloween Pumpkin Designs"

    • fromamericateel profile image

      fromamericateel 7 years ago

      You have done a fantastic job with this lens. I am sharing this.

    • mixmasta91 lm profile image

      mixmasta91 lm 7 years ago

      wow very in depth.

    • profile image

      magknetts 7 years ago

      amazing lens nice designs

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Boo! Happy Halloween! - Kathy

    • AdultAcneSystem profile image

      AdultAcneSystem 7 years ago

      Absolutely I think that having the right Carving Tools, will make any amateur look that much better.Carving tools are a key if you want your carvings to look professional, and enjoy it that much more.

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 7 years ago

      Wonderful job with this lens, it's so helpful!