Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas as a Halloween Tradition
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 Copyright 2013 (c) by Kirsti A. Dyer
The Witch meets Hansel and Gretel
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
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
Creative Pumpkin Carvings for Halloween - From the Imagination of my DaughtersClick thumbnail to view full-size
Vote on Favorite Creative Pumpkin Design
What is your favorite pumpkin design?
Rapunzel in a Pumpkin
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.
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
A cute talking Olaf bean bag plush.
Cinderella in her Carriage
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.
- New Wheels - A Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Carriage
A magical Cinderella pumpkin crafted by The Fairfield House
- Crafting with my kids: Pumpkin Activities
From let's go fly a kite crafting a princess pumpkin.
- Carve a Cinderella Pumpkin Coach
From Boston Baby Mama who set out to carve Cinderella's coach from a pumpkin.
- Pumpkin and Princess Day
From Ginger's Creative Cottage a celebration of the first day of fall, with a pumpkin and princesses.
- Disney Princess Carriage Pumpkin, from the neighborhood | Flickr
A photo of a Disney Princess Carriage Pumpkin featuring Cinderella and her prince
Pumpkin Vase for Flowers
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 with Flowers on Amazon
More pumpkin vase decorating ideas.
Jack Skellington Pumpkin
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
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?