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Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas as a Halloween Tradition

Updated on October 29, 2013

Make Halloween Pumpkin Carving a Family Tradition

Every year for the past four years now, my daughters have come up with creative ideas for decorating pumpkins for the annual local event the Illumination of the Jack O'Lanterns.

They have received the award for the "Most Creative" pumpkin the last two years in a row.

Many of the themes they have chosen are fairy tale and/or Disney-based ones with Rapunzel (seen to the left), Cinderella, Jack Skellington and a preview idea of Frozen's snowman, Olaf.

This year they went with a Hansel and Gretel theme inspired by the television show Once Upon a Time.

When someone at the event asked to take a photo of the girl's Hansel and Gretel's witch pumpkin and announced she was going to post it to Instagram, I decided it was time to get our own pictures out there of my daughters' creative pumpkin ideas.

At least this way, the photo credit will come back to our family.

Rapunzel's Tower as a Pumpkin copyright 2012 by Kirsti A. Dyer. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to My Candy Lair

Witch pumpkin lair by Kirsti A. Dyer
Witch pumpkin lair by Kirsti A. Dyer

Witch pumpkin lair Copyright 2013 (c) by Kirsti A. Dyer

The Witch meets Hansel and Gretel

Halloween 2013

Witch Transforms Hansel and Gretel by Kirsti A. Dyer
Witch Transforms Hansel and Gretel by Kirsti A. Dyer

The Witch Transforms Hansel and Gretel

For 2013 we only did one design this year, but it was a joint family design. A Hansel and Gretel theme was the one they chose for 2013 when they were 13 and 11 years old.

The idea was to create a candy pumpkin that Hansel and Gretel would be enticed to visit. We purchased a bunch of junk candy (candy that I would not normally have in the house) to use as decorations.

My husband discovered what a glue gun was with this project (and it may be a new favorite tool for him to use). They glued candy corn and Sweet tarts all over the pumpkin candy lair. An old Belle doll was turned into the witch.

I decided that we should have Hansel and Gretel 'transformed' by the witch and all of her candy, so they are a gingerbread cookie at the beginning of the path, no longer 'real children.'

I think the message about the evils of candy was lost on the children at the pumpkin lighting event, since our candy covered pumpkin proved how irresistible the draw of junk candy is to young children.

The children were pulled to the pumpkin as a magnet, mesmerized by the sweet treats and missing the subtle fate of poor Hansel and Gretel.

The Witch Transforms Hansel and Gretel copyright 2013 by Kirsti A. Dyer. All Rights Reserved.

Pro Pumpkin Carving Tools Kit on Amazon

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

This brass and walnut pumpkin carving tool kit is the number one best selling carving sets and highly rated by reviewers as a great carving set.

This is the type of tool set that can be used year after year, without breaking and even passed down in the family.

 

Make Pumpkin Carving a Fun Family Halloween Tradition

— Pumpkin
Funkin available on Amazon
Funkin available on Amazon

Creative Pumpkin Carvings for Halloween - From the Imagination of my Daughters

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Witch with Hansel and Gretel (cookie) Copyright 2013 (c) Kirsti A. DyerWitch's Candy Lair (cookie) Copyright 2013 (c) Kirsti A. DyerWitch sets a Candy Trap for Hansel and Gretel Copyright 2013 (c) Kirsti A. DyerRapunzel's Pumpkin Tower Copyright 2012 (c) Kirsti A. DyerRapunzel's Pumpkin Tower by Daylight Copyright 2012 (c) Kirsti A. DyerPumpkin Snowman Copyright 2012 (c) Kirsti A. DyerCinderella Pumpkin Carriage Copyright 2011 (c) Pirkko DyerPumpkin Vase Copyright 2011 (c) Pirkko DyerJack Skellington Pumpkin Copyright 2010 (c) Cole ThompsonToo Much Candy Pumpkin Copyright 2010 (c) Cole Thompson
Witch with Hansel and Gretel (cookie) Copyright 2013 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Witch with Hansel and Gretel (cookie) Copyright 2013 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Witch's Candy Lair (cookie) Copyright 2013 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Witch's Candy Lair (cookie) Copyright 2013 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Witch sets a Candy Trap for Hansel and Gretel Copyright 2013 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Witch sets a Candy Trap for Hansel and Gretel Copyright 2013 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Rapunzel's Pumpkin Tower Copyright 2012 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Rapunzel's Pumpkin Tower Copyright 2012 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Rapunzel's Pumpkin Tower by Daylight Copyright 2012 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Rapunzel's Pumpkin Tower by Daylight Copyright 2012 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Pumpkin Snowman Copyright 2012 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Pumpkin Snowman Copyright 2012 (c) Kirsti A. Dyer
Cinderella Pumpkin Carriage Copyright 2011 (c) Pirkko Dyer
Cinderella Pumpkin Carriage Copyright 2011 (c) Pirkko Dyer
Pumpkin Vase Copyright 2011 (c) Pirkko Dyer
Pumpkin Vase Copyright 2011 (c) Pirkko Dyer
Jack Skellington Pumpkin Copyright 2010 (c) Cole Thompson
Jack Skellington Pumpkin Copyright 2010 (c) Cole Thompson
Too Much Candy Pumpkin Copyright 2010 (c) Cole Thompson
Too Much Candy Pumpkin Copyright 2010 (c) Cole Thompson

Vote on Favorite Creative Pumpkin Design

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Rapunzel in a Pumpkin

Halloween 2012

Rapunzel's Pumpkin Tower by Kirsti A. Dyer
Rapunzel's Pumpkin Tower by Kirsti A. Dyer

Rapunzel's Tower as Pumpkins

Inspired by their involvement in the "Into the Woods" theater play during the summer and playing around stacking up large pumpkins, the girls decided to go with a Rapunzel theme for 2012 when they were 12 and 10 years old.

Rapunzel's Pumpkin Tower was constructed from two different pumpkins. Holes were cut into the pumpkins for windows on the top and to mimic her hair on the bottom.

Old ivy leaves that I had around were used to create the vines over the pumpkins. We got an extra long blonde braid to use for her hair cascading out of the tower.

At the event the two pumpkins were stacked up with the top left off of the bottom pumpkin and the prince was attached in place using sticky dots so he could look as though he was climbing up the tower.

Rapunzel's Pumpkin Tower copyright 2012 by Kirsti A. Dyer. All Rights Reserved.

Rapunzel and Her Prince on Amazon

The girls used a blonde Barbie doll and Prince Charming to stage this fairytale inspired pumpkin design.

Pumpkin Snowman

Halloween 2012

Pumpkin Snowman by Kirsti A. Dyer
Pumpkin Snowman by Kirsti A. Dyer

A Frozen Inspired Pumpkin Snowman

In 2012, when they were 12 and 10 years old, my daughters designed a tiny pumpkin snowman after playing around with the tiny pumpkins at the store.

It was easy to stack up the tiny pumpkins with a colorful gourd for the head. The scarf was cut out of a piece of felt and eyes and a straw mouth were glued into place.

The design didn't make too much sense at the time, but in hindsight...

With Disney's new movie Frozen coming out in November 2013, I am now wondering if the girls might have some how been thinking about Olaf when they created the pumpkin snowman. Their pumpkin snowman was just missing a carrot nose and stick arms.

Snowman Pumpkin copyright 2012 by Kirsti A. Dyer. All Rights Reserved.

Frozen's Olaf on Amazon

Disney Frozen Olaf Talking Bean Plush
Disney Frozen Olaf Talking Bean Plush

A cute talking Olaf bean bag plush.

 

Cinderella in her Carriage

Halloween 2011

Cinderella Pumpkin Carriage by Pirkko K. Dyer
Cinderella Pumpkin Carriage by Pirkko K. Dyer

Cinderella Riding in her Pumpkin Carriage

We couldn't find a photo that we took of the Cinderella pumpkin, the one that inspired the tradition of using dolls.

Fortunately my Mom took one the next day, somewhat recreating the Cinderella pumpkin ride.

For the Cinderella pumpkin carriage my daughter carved the pumpkin, so Cinderella could ride standing in the pumpkin.

Part of the pumpkin top was used to fashion a seat for her Prince to sit. My daughter's prince was also serving as her escort.

The horse's silver bridle was made using sparkly silver pipe cleaners and the reins were made from a sparkly pink shoelace.

Wheels (which aren't shown) were made using old cardboard cheese containers (the circular ones) which were spray painted silver. The wheels were attached together using skewers and the pumpkin with wheels were assemble on the spot.

Cinderella's Pumpkin Carriage by Pirkko K. Dyer. Used with Permission.

Cinderella Dolls on Amazon

The girls used a combination of dolls for the Cinderella pumpkin mixing Cinderella with the Little Mermaid's Eric and a random horse we had.

Cinderella Pumpkin Video Tutorials

My daughters weren't the only ones to come up with thought of turning a pumpkin into Cinderella's carriage. Here are more ideas from other people on creating a Cinderella Pumpkin Coach.

More Variations on Cinderella's Pumpkin

Cinderella's pumpkin has been done by other Mom's online.

Pumpkin Vase for Flowers

Halloween 2011

Pumpkin Flower Vase by Pirkko K. Dyer.
Pumpkin Flower Vase by Pirkko K. Dyer.

Carve a Pumpkin for a Decorative Vase

Since this was the year that I didn't remember bring a camera, I don't have one of the vase that my daughter designed.

Fortunately my Mother took photos of the girl's pumpkin masterpieces, so the photo here is from her.

To create the vase my daughter hollowed out a pumpkin and filled her pumpkin vase with silk chrysanthemums and leaves in autumn colors. The effect was quite dramatic. The autumn arrangement (at least the silk part) eventually became an autumn-themed vase decoration for my parents.

I also found other examples, a photo of a pumpkin vase filled with flowers that had been done by someone else (seen below) and some of the ones available on Amazon.

These pumpkin vase examples should to give you an idea how to use a pumpkin as a flower vase once you have carved it out.

Pumpkin Leaf Vase by Pirkko K. Dyer. Used with Permission

Pumpkin Vase of Flowers

Pumpkin Vase by Jerry
Pumpkin Vase by Jerry

Decorative Pumpkin Vase by Jerry. Used under a Creative Commons License

Pumpkin Vase with Flowers on Amazon

More pumpkin vase decorating ideas.

Jack Skellington Pumpkin

Halloween 2010

Jack Skellington Pumpkin by Cole Thompson
Jack Skellington Pumpkin by Cole Thompson

Jack Skellington Carved Pumpkin

Inspired by the Nightmare Before Christmas, the girls carved a Jack Skellington Pumpkin in 2010 when they were 10 and 8-years old.

They used a template image that I found of Jack on the Internet and added in a nose. I wasn't able to find any official ones, so you have to search online for Jack images that will work and then enlarge it to the size of your pumpkin.

Using a template to cut a pumpkin is pretty easy. You just put the template on the pumpkin and cut out the areas that are supposed to be cut out.

It is easier working with templates if you cut out the individual pieces and arrange them as guides on the pumpkin and then tape them in place before starting to cut.

Working to get all the details of Jack's stitched smile is where having a good set of pumpkin carving tools like the Pro Pumpkin Carving Tool Kit above comes in very handy.

Jack Skellington Carved Pumpkin by Cole Thompson. Used with Permission.

Pumpkin Stencils on Amazon

Too Much Candy Pumpkin

Halloween 2010

Too Much Candy by Cole Thompson
Too Much Candy by Cole Thompson

I can't believe I ate all the candy Pumpkin

This Too Much Candy Pumpkin was designed when my daughters were 10 and 8-years old.

My 8 year old cut the pumpkin and decided to make it a barfing one.

I tossed in some of my girls left-over candy wrappers at the last minute on top of the barfing pumpkin 'guts'.

I was hoping that my girls and other kids at the event might see that the pumpkin was barfing up candy and maybe, just maybe, not want to eat so much candy. It has been one of my favorite designs, because it was designed to teach a healthy food lesson.

Too Much Candy Pumpkin by Cole Thompson. Used with Permission.

I can't believe I ate the whole thing...

— Howie Cohen and Bob Pasqualina for Alka Seltzer

Does your family have a pumpkin carving tradition?

Comment on Creative Pumpkin Carving Traditions

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    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @imagelist lm: Thank you

    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 3 years ago

      Cool...interesting content...

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @Lee Hansen: Thanks! It was fun to pull together.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 3 years ago from Vermont

      We try new designs and techniques every year when we carve the orange gourds. My granddaughter, though, always makes a happy face :D. Love this lens!

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @DebMartin: Don't tell, but that was my idea.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @CrazyHomemaker: The kids are pretty talented. Everyone has quite the imagination.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @anonymous: Thank yooooooou.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @bobnolley lm: Thank you. It was quite a surprise.

    • bobnolley lm profile image

      bobnolley lm 3 years ago

      Happy Halloween! Congrats on your LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      These are some very groooooooooooooovy pumpkins. Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 3 years ago

      This is such a cool lens! Congrats on LOTD! You sure have some creative talent in your family. Best wishes.

    • ayannavenus profile image

      ayannavenus 3 years ago

      Wow how creative!

    • profile image

      DebMartin 3 years ago

      Love the flower arrangement in the pumpkin. Why didn't I think of that!

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @WinWriter: Sadly, they don't last too long. As last year's creation, Rapunzel's pumpkin is long gone.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @MelRootsNWrites: Thank you. Give it a try.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @pitlock: Thank you

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @esmonaco: Thank you.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @philipcaddick: That would be pretty amazing. My daughters are a bit young to have gotten into the Star Wars.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @hotsquid: Thank you.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @JoanieMRuppel54: Hope your 10-year-old has fun trying out the pumpkin carving.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @LluviaDeArte: They are creative - get it from their mother.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @Seasons Greetings: Thank you, but many of them are my daughters' ideas.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @Diaper Bag Blog: Maybe I'll get my kids working on carving fruits and veggies. Might help them eat more too.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @Uzuki Gems: It can be a lot of work, but it is still a fun activity to try.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @paulahite: Sounds like a lot of fun.

    • Uzuki Gems profile image

      Uzuki Gems 3 years ago

      How clever! I think we only carved a pumpkin in my family once, and it was so much trouble that we never did it again lol. Doing this must give your girls such a sense of accomplishment.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @RoadMonkey: Have fun if you decide to give it a try.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @samsmom7: It is kind of a crazy tradition.

    • profile image

      samsmom7 3 years ago

      We don't have a pumpkin carving tradition but these are amazing.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      No, I have never even had a pumpkin but your daughters have certainly get the creative urge and it looks like good fun, so might try one for next year. Might just get a pumpkin now that they are still in the shops and have a little practice ahead of next year! :)

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      I get a couple of my daughters friends to come over and we carve pumpkins, drink cider, and eat hot dogs rolled in crescent rolls. Its always good fun and most parents are happy to have the carving mess somewhere else.

    • Diaper Bag Blog profile image

      Stanley Green 3 years ago from Czech Republic

      Well, I live in Czech Republic and there in no such tradition here... but I love carving of different fruits and vegetables...

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I like your ideas. Happy Halloween!

    • profile image

      WinWriter 3 years ago

      Wow! Those carvings are so creative. The one of Rapunzel especially drew my attention. Your designs should be featured on the News today. Very impressive :)

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      Congrats on LOTD! These are very clever. I haven't graduated from the Jack O'Lantern face carving. LOL

    • pitlock profile image

      pitlock 3 years ago

      Congratulations!, very well done and very creative. Love these

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Congratulations on LotD, your daughters are very talented, WOW!!!!!!

    • profile image

      philipcaddick 3 years ago

      I have seen somewhere else that someone has carved a Star Wars Death star from a pumpkin, people with such talent.

    • hotsquid profile image

      hotsquid 3 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD! Very creative pumpkin carving ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 3 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Enjoyed this a lot. Very creative ideas that we will use for next year or maybe on some "on sale" pumpkins after today! My 10-year old will eat these up!

    • LluviaDeArte profile image

      LluviaDeArte 3 years ago

      Really amazing beautiful lens. Thank you for sharing it. The girls are super creative!

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @fifinn: Thank you

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @Tarra99: Thank you.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @girlfriendfactory: Thank you.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @ArtbyMAR: Thanks for sharing your pumpkin carving tradition.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @getupandgrow: It has been a fun tradition.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @Dressage Husband: I thought the Rapunzel was a fun one too. It was hard to photo well as a square though.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @Merrci: Thank you.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @delia-delia: I have to give my daughters the credit for several of the designs.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 3 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! Very imaginative creations! Well done!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Boy, clever carving! What a fun lens to read too.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      We do not but I have done it on occasion and they are often very effective. I really like the Rapunzel design.

    • profile image

      getupandgrow 3 years ago

      These designs are amazing...But we don't have a tradition of it. The one time I tried it, I got as far as scraping out the pumpkin innards (which went everywhere:-) and the finished collection of holes really didn't deserve the word "carving." So I *really* admire you and your girls' work!

    • profile image

      ArtbyMAR 3 years ago

      Pumpkin carving is a tradition in my family. Even though my kids are now teenagers we carve pumpkins every year.

    • girlfriendfactory profile image

      girlfriendfactory 3 years ago

      These are so adorable! Love them!

    • profile image

      Tarra99 3 years ago

      Great ideas...congrats on LOTD

    • profile image

      fifinn 3 years ago

      Very beautiful creations. I like it.

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @PriyabrataSingh: Thank you for the kind remarks. My daughters have had a lot of fun making pumpkins.

    • profile image

      PriyabrataSingh 3 years ago

      Great work in your lens.Each one of the crafted work is very eye-catching.I am personally very impressed the way you have presented your Pumpkin Carving Works.You have done every thing right what was supposed to be right. Thanks, really a very excellent work. Keep it up...

    • HealthfulMD profile image
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      Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

      @smine27: It is a rather interesting tradition.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I have never carved a pumpkin in my life but this looks like fun!